|Thursday, 29 October 2020|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 93, 01-05-16
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 5, No. 93, 16 May 2001
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFS PARLIAMENT ON KARABAKH PEACE PROCESSVartan Oskanian briefed a 15 May session of the parliament's Foreign Relations Commission on the ongoing Karabakh peace process, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian said after the meeting that deputies are "satisfied" by the explanation Oskanian offered for his use in a TV interview on 9 May of the term "occupied" to describe territories in Azerbaijan currently controlled by Armenian forces. That formulation provoked a storm of protest (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 May 2001). Other deputies who attended the session told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that in response to tough questions about the government's stance on a compromise solution of the conflict Oskanian said the Armenian leadership will not sign a peace accord that would leave the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic a part of Azerbaijan. Oskanian also said that the Armenian leadership concurs with the main points of a statement adopted on 27 April by all parties and factions represented within the parliament and which terms unacceptable any Karabakh peace agreement that would not lead to "Nagorno-Karabakh's reunification with Armenia or international affirmation of its independent status" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 April 2001). LF
 ARMENIAN GROUPS DEMAND PROBE INTO SUSPECTED AID FOR PARLIAMENT GUNMENThree Armenian political groups -- the People's Party of Armenia (HZhK), the Communist Party, and the parliamentary group of the Yerkrapah Union of Veterans of the Karabakh War -- issued a joint statement on 15 May calling on the parliament to set up an ad hoc commission to investigate the possibility that the five gunmen currently on trial for the killings of eight senior officials in October 1999 are receiving "illicit legal counseling," RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The statement also accused unnamed Armenian politicians of seeking to minimize the seriousness of the shootings and to portray the gunmen as "Robin Hoods." The HZhK and Yerkrapah are both convinced that the gunmen acted on orders from persons whose identity has not yet been established, and that their leader, Nairi Hunanian, is under instruction from those persons to prolong the court proceedings by giving lengthy, detailed, and even irrelevant testimony. LF
 RUSSIAN OFFICIAL COMMENDS SECURITY COOPERATION WITH AZERBAIJAN...Russian Security Council Chairman Vladimir Rushailo arrived in Baku on 14 May, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Trade official Igor Kareev, Turan and Russian agencies reported. Meeting on 15 May with Azerbaijan's President Aliev, Rushailo named as one of Moscow's main priorities strengthening the security situation in the South Caucasus. He described bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism as satisfactory, noting specifically the arrest in Azerbaijan and subsequent extradition to the Russian Federation of "dangerous terrorists," but said it could and should be made more effective. Aliev for his part said that Baku and Moscow have "an identical understanding" of the threat posed by terrorism. Also discussed were preparations for a planned summit in Minsk in late May of the presidents of Russia and the three South Caucasus states, at which the Karabakh peace process will be discussed, and an official visit by President Aliev to Moscow. Rushailo was also scheduled to meet with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Vilayat Quliev and with the influential head of the presidential administration, Ramiz Mehdiev, but not with Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade. LF
 ...SEEKS TO EXPAND ECONOMIC, MILITARY-TECHNICAL COOPERATIONRushailo also told Aliev that Russia wants to participate in the modernization of industrial enterprises in Azerbaijan and in the privatization of enterprises in the fuel and energy sectors. He further proposed consultations on the modernization of Soviet-made weapons and military equipment and the training of Azerbaijani military personnel in Russia. LF
 AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT RATIFIES GAS EXPORT AGREEMENTParliament deputies voted unanimously on 15 May to ratify the 15-year agreement signed in Ankara in March by President Aliev and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer on the sale to Turkey of natural gas from Azerbaijan's offshore Caspian Shahdeniz deposit (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 March 2001), Turan reported. Under that 15-year agreement, Turkey will purchase 2 billion cubic meters of gas in 2004. That amount will rise to 6.6 billion cubic meters in 2006 and as much as 20 billion cubic meters thereafter. AP reported from Baku on 15 May that Ankara will pay between $70 and $120 per thousand cubic meters of gas. The price will be determined by both sides jointly and reviewed quarterly. LF
 RUSSIAN DEPUTY PREMIER HOPES FOR WESTERN FINANCING FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM GEORGIAVisiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov held talks in Tbilisi on 15 May with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili on the optimum time frame for the closure of the Russian military bases at Akhalkalaki and Batumi, Russian and Georgian agencies reported. Klebanov told journalists after the talks that Russia has offered to vacate those bases within 15 years. he said doing so would cost 4.3 billion rubles ($140 million), and the closure could be expedited if the West would contribute toward that sum. Russian military experts said last August that the closure would cost some $50 million. The U.S. last year offered $10 million, and the U.K. $160,000, toward the cost of the Russian withdrawal from Georgia. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Kosovan, who accompanied Klebanov, pointed out that it will take 3-4 years to construct new bases in Russia for those troops withdrawn from Georgia, according to Interfax. Shevardnadze said the date for completing the Russian withdrawal from Batumi and Akhalkalaki will be set only after the signing of a new framework Russian-Georgian treaty, which is currently still at the discussion stage. Klebanov said that the ongoing Russian withdrawal from the bases at Vaziani, near Tbilisi, and Gudauta, will be completed on schedule by 1 July. LF
 ABKHAZ OFFICIAL IDENTIFIES PUTATIVE MURDERERAbkhaz Prosecutor-General Anri Djergenia said in Sukhum on 15 May that the investigation into the murder last summer of Zurab Achba, a consultant on human rights (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 August 2000), has identified as his putative killer a Georgian, Samson Darsania, currently residing in Bransk, Apsny Press reported. Djergenia said Darsania is wanted by the Russian police. He said two other suspects have been detained in connection with Achba's killing but they have not been charged with murder. LF
 GUUAM SUMMIT POSTPONED AGAINThe summit of GUUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) scheduled for 26-28 May in Yalta has been postponed until June at the request of Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev, Ukrainian presidential spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko told Interfax in Kyiv on 15 May. The summit was originally scheduled for March but was postponed at the request of Aliev and then-Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February 2001). LF
 KAZAKHSTAN, JAPAN DISCUSS INVESTMENTKazakhstan's Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev proposed at a session of the Kazakh-Japanese committee for economic cooperation in Astana on 15 May that it is time to proceed from Japanese loans and grants to Kazakhstan to direct Japanese investments in the Kazakh economy, Interfax reported. Japan has lent Kazakhstan $580 million since 1992. But Japanese charge d'affaires Akira Tateyama singled out as an obstacle to expanded bilateral cooperation the unpaid debts of the Karaganda Metal Works to Japan's Itochu. He appealed for Toqaev's help in ensuring repayment of that debt, the size of which both Toqaev and Tateyama refused to specify. LF
 TRIAL OF ALLEGED ISLAMIC RADICALS OPENS IN KYRGYZSTANThe trial began on 15 May at a military court in the southern city of Osh of one Tajik and one Russian citizen accused of participating in the incursion into Kyrgyzstan last summer of a group of fighters from the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Reuters and Interfax reported. That group took four U.S. mountaineers hostage. LF
 TAJIK PRESIDENT SAYS SITUATION ON AFGHAN BORDER 'STABLE'Imomali Rakhmonov told ITAR-TASS on 15 May in Tokyo, where he is to attend a meeting of the UN Consultative Group for Tajikistan on 16 May, that Taliban forces are not strong enough to break the resistance of the Northern Alliance and advance on the Afghan-Tajik border. But he acknowledged that Afghanistan nonetheless poses a threat to Tajikistan. Also on 15 May, Rakhmonov had an audience with Emperor Akihito, whom he invited to visit Tajikistan. LF
 TURKMEN AUTHORITIES PRESSURE IMPRISONED BAPTIST'S FAMILY TO EMIGRATEShageldy Atakov has been brought from a closed prison in Turkmenbashi, and his wife from her home in the town of Kaakha, to Ashgabat where the Turkmen authorities have tried in separate meetings with them to persuade them to leave Turkmenistan, Keston News Service reported on 14 May. Atakov was informed that if he refuses to emigrate he will be constrained to serve the entire four-year prison term to which he was sentenced in 1998 on fabricated charges of swindling (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 28 February and 22 March 2001). LF
 NEW UZBEK YOUTH MOVEMENT REGISTEREDThe Justice Ministry has registered the youth movement Kamolot, the founding congress of which took place in Tashkent on 25 April, Interfax reported on 15 May. Some 600 delegates participated in that conference. The movement's aims are to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to help young people find their place in society and fulfill their intellectual potential. Kamolot is the second public movement to be registered in Uzbekistan. The country also has four registered political parties. LF
 UZBEKISTAN ANNOUNCES SALE OF STAKE IN FOUR OIL AND GAS ENTERPRISESUzbekistan's State Property Commission announced on 15 May the sale of 39- 44 percent of the shares in four enterprises of the state-owned Uzbekneftegaz, Interfax and AP reported. The total value of those stakes is $131 million. The Uzbek government will retain a 51 percent stake in all four companies. One Polish and one Ukrainian company have already expressed an interest in acquiring a share in two of the enterprises in question. LF
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT GIVES GUERRILLAS ULTIMATUMMacedonia's new grand coalition government, which includes the two largest ethnic Albanian parties, ordered a cease-fire on 15 May. The truce will end at midday on 17 May, after which time the security forces will launch a large-scale operation in the Kumanovo area to "eliminate the terrorists" of the National Liberation Army (UCK), AP reported. The army will fire only if attacked, a spokesman said. On the morning of 16 May, however, the UCK attacked army units outside Slupcane and fired machine guns at Macedonian police outside nearby Opaje. PM
 RED CROSS WORKS TO EVACUATE ALBANIAN CIVILIANSInternational Red Cross officials said in Skopje on 15 May that they evacuated some 100 exhausted ethnic Albanian civilians from the Kumanovo area during a lull in the fighting the previous day. Many of the Albanians denied Macedonian government reports that the UCK fighters are "terrorists" using civilians as human shields. The civilians said that the fighters are their own relatives who are defending their homes and property against an onslaught, AP reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May 2001). PM
 KOSOVA ALBANIANS GIVE ELECTION PLAN GUARDED WELCOME...Leaders of Kosova's major ethnic Albanian parties said in Prishtina on 15 May that they will support the UN's plan for the 17 November general elections even though it does not include the possibility of a referendum on independence, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May 2001). Moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova said: "Our main dispute is with the referendum question, but we will support this document." Former guerrilla leader Hashim Thaci argued that "this document will hold hostage the aim of the people, which is independence. For me, the will of the people of Kosova is a law beyond the law." Hans Haekkerup, who heads the UN civilian administration, said that he has no mandate to hold a referendum. He stressed that the plan "does not address [any] final political settlement, but...it's a stepping stone to reach a final agreement at some later stage." PM
 ...WHILE SERBS REJECT IT...Several leaders of Kosova's Serbian minority said on 15 May that they will boycott the November elections because Haekkerup "caved in" to Albanian demands, AP reported from Prishtina. Milan Ivanovic stressed that "Haekkerup accepted 98 percent of the Albanian demands. It is not a wish of the Kosovo Serbs to live under President Thaci...or some other criminal." Serbian government representative Momcilo Trajkovic said: "Our minimum request is that Kosovo cannot be independent, that remaining Serbs be guaranteed their safety and security, that Serb refugees return to the province, and that a (political) solution envisage Kosovo's reintegration into Serbia." Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic said of Haekkerup: "Arrogance and one-sidedness in decision-making can cause serious consequences." But in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to the Serbs to take part in the elections. PM
 ...WITH RUSSIAN BACKINGThe Foreign Ministry said in a statement in Moscow on 15 May: "The document prepared by H. Haekkerup has a whole series of faults, which the Russian side has drawn attention to... The legal framework for future self- government in the region is elevated almost to the level of a constitution... Amid escalating provocation by Albanian terrorists from Kosovo territory, which has already led to serious destabilization of the situation in Macedonia..., Haekkerup and supporters of this decision must take special responsibility for future events in the Balkans," Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 23 March 2001). PM
 WHAT DOES THE KOSOVA ELECTION PLAN SAY?Haekkerup's plan provides for the election of a 120-member legislature, Reuters and AP reported from Prishtina on 15 May. Some 100 seats will be elected directly, while 10 seats will be reserved for Serbs (who make up about 7 percent of the population) and 10 for members of other minority groups (who make up a total of about 4 percent of the population). The legislature will elect a president, who will nominate a prime minister. Haekkerup says he will "step back" from governing, but will retain ultimate political authority, including the right to dissolve the legislature. By contrast, the Serbian parliament has no reserved seats for the Presevo Albanian minority, whose parties must meet a nationwide 5 percent minimum. PM
 SERBIAN FORCES RETAKE ALBANIAN VILLAGEYugoslav army and Serbian paramilitary police occupied the ethnic Albanian village of Oraovica in the Presevo region on 15 May after heavy fighting with guerrillas of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May 2001). The guerrillas retreated into Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported, quoting "Serbian sources." PM
 GERMANY OFFERS SERBIA A 'DEMOCRATIC DIVIDEND'...German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told reporters in Berlin on 15 May that Germany will help build democracy in Serbia by strengthening its economy. He said that he and visiting Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica "agree that above all else there has to be progress made in stabilizing the economy so people can get what might be called a democracy dividend. I strongly support the involvement of German firms, the German Trade Association, and the Bank for Reconstruction. It shows that we are not only talking about engagement in the region, but we are doing something about it, " Reuters reported. Kostunica said that "help promised by Germany is very helpful. It is very encouraging... Economic stability is most important." The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" noted, however, that Schroeder did not give specific information as to exactly how Germany will help Serbia. PM
 ...BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HAGUE?Kostunica said in Berlin on 15 May that "we will fulfil our international commitments to the tribunal in The Hague," Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 May 2001). He does not, however, appear to have gone into specifics or addressed the question of extraditing former President Slobodan Milosevic to the war crimes tribunal any more than he did on his recent trip to the U.S. (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 15 May 2001). Schroeder also did not mention specifics, saying that "it was important for me to learn that President Kostunica said the necessary conditions were being set up" so that a donors conference can go ahead with U.S. and EU participation. Washington has made it clear that it links the issues of extradition and the donors conference. PM
 POWELL REMAINS FIRM: INDICTED SERB MUST GO TO THE HAGUEU.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on 15 May that the Bush administration continues to insist that Serbia extradite Milosevic to The Hague (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 15 May 2001). Powell noted that the authorities have arrested Milosevic but added: "I certainly encourage them to understand, without any question about it, that we will not be satisfied until ultimately he [Milosevic] stands before The Hague," RFE/RL reported. Powell also said: "I am hopeful that [the Serbian authorities] will take actions between now and the time a decision has to be made on attendance at the donors conference that will allow me to remove the condition [for U.S. participation], or they satisfy the condition because they have done a lot more. I would hope that 'lot more' includes something about Mr. Milosevic, but I think that's unlikely," Reuters reported. PM
 ALBANIA BLOCKS ARMS FOR MACEDONIAAlbanian police at the port of Durres seized a truck filled with an unspecified quantity of weapons apparently bound for the UCK in Macedonia, AP reported on 15 May. PM
 BOSNIAN SERB OFFICIALS SACKEDOn 15 May, the Bosnian Serb government accepted the resignations of Interior Minister Perica Bundalo and security chief Dobrislav Planojevic in conjunction with recent anti-Muslim unrest, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 11 May 2001). The government also sacked Bundalo's deputy, Brane Pecanac, as well as six high school principals. The principals were blamed for having let their students out of class to join in the riots. Anti-Muslim incidents have continued to occur in several places, especially in the Janja area, Reuters reported. PM
 UNREST CONTINUES AMONG CROATS OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINATwo bombs wrecked the offices of non-nationalist parties in central Bosnia on 16 May, AP reported. One bomb went off at the office of the Social Democrats in Vitez, while another was set off at the headquarters of the New Croatian Initiative (NHI) in Novi Travnik. Both towns are considered strongholds of the hard-line Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ). The previous day, some 200 army hard-liners in Kiseljak demonstrated outside an army barracks held by non-nationalist soldiers. One hard-liner threatened those in the barracks with "blood all the way up to their knees" if they do not evacuate the facility, AP reported. In Sarajevo, the Defense Ministry has called for treason charges to be brought against three top hard-liners for urging soldiers to desert the government army. The three are HDZ leader Ante Jelavic, former Defense Minister Miroslav Prce, and deputy army commander Dragan Curcic. The hard-liners in Kiseljak have called for protests there in support of the three men on 16 May, Reuters reported. PM
 FOREIGN DOMINATION OF CROATIAN BANKING?Italy's UniCredito and Germany's Allianz have become the new "strategic partners" of Zagrebacka Banka, "Jutarnji list" reported on 16 May. Bank Director Franjo Lukovic said that Croats should think of UniCredito as a European rather than an Italian institution, since most of its investors are scattered around the continent. "Novi List" wrote that Croatia needs to break the "foreign monopoly" on its banking in order to better meet the challenges of unemployment and indebtedness in the coming years. Italy is widely regarded with suspicion by many Croats, who recall Italian claims on Istria and Dalmatia prior to 1945. PM
 ROMANIA READY TO PARTICIPATE IN EU RAPID INTERVENTION FORCEForeign Minister Mircea Geoana and Defense Minister Ioan Mircea Pascu on 15 May attended in Brussels the "15+15" meetings of EU foreign and defense ministers with representatives from EU candidate countries. Geoana said after the meeting that Romania is ready to "make an important contribution" to the envisaged EU Rapid Reaction Force. He said his country made "the most consistent offer" from among non-NATO members. Geoana said Romania could send to the force a large brigade and three military vessels that could be "fully operational" by 2003, Mediafax reported. MS
 ROMANIAN PRESIDENT WANTS AGRICULTURE COOPERATIVES RE-ESTABLISHEDThere is "no contradiction whatever" between the private ownership of land and "freely established agriculture cooperatives," President Ion Iliescu said on 15 May. Iliescu said it is "scandalous" that a country with such a large agricultural potential as Romania must import foodstuff and the situation is "to a large extent caused by the fact that after the  Revolution the idea of agricultural cooperatives has been discredited," Mediafax reported. He said agricultural cooperation has roots in the "remote Romanian historical past" and is not necessarily a communist idea. "The rational exploitation of land," he said, can only be achieved when large areas are cultivated, and that this was well understood by National Peasant Party leader Ion Mihalache already in the 1920s. MS
 ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SANCTIONS OFFICERS OVER 'TIMOFTE AFFAIR'Brigadier General Bujorel Iamandi has been forced to take compulsory retirement over his involvement in the "Radu Timofte affair" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 May 2001). Five other Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) officers were also retired or otherwise sanctioned, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 15 May. An SRI investigation commission established that the attempt to discredit Timofte by fabricating evidence of his alleged links with the KGB dated back to 1993 but was renewed in 1998 and 2000. Timofte was appointed SRI director earlier this year. MS
 FORMER ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SUES FORMER DISSIDENTAndrei Plesu on 15 May sued Gabriel Andreescu, a former dissident under the Nicolae Ceausescu regime, for having recently alleged that Plesu had served as an informer of the Securitate, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 February 2001). Plesu said Andreescu had slandered him. Plesu seeks 1 billion lei ($35,147) in damages. MS
 MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT REJECTS TIRASPOL ACCUSATIONS OF CHITCANI VISIT...Vladimir Voronin said in an official press release on 15 May that "as a citizen of the Moldovan Republic and as its president" he enjoys the "right of free movement" over the republic's entire territory and that the freedom of movement of Moldovan citizens is also stipulated in accords signed between Chisinau and Tiraspol, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Voronin thus reacted to the separatists' claims that his attempted visit to the Noul Neamt monastery on 13 May required the approval of separatist leader Igor Smirnov. Voronin said that in the past he had visited the region, where his own mother lives, as well as the monastery, "on numerous occasions." MS
 ...DECREES TRANSDNIESTER CONFLICT SETTLEMENT IS 'PRIORITY TASK'President Voronin, on the eve of his departure for negotiations with Smirnov in Tiraspol on 16 May, issued an official decree stating that the settlement of the Transdniester conflict is "a priority task" for the Chisinau authorities, Romanian radio reported, citing Moldpres. The decree states that the settlement will be based on granting the separatist region a "special status" within Moldova and the safeguarding of Moldova's territorial integrity. MS
 TRANSDNIESTER SEPARATISTS OUTLAW PRO-VORONIN PARTYA court of justice in Tiraspol on 14 May heeded the decision of the region's "Justice Ministry" to outlaw the Narodovlastie Party (People's Power), Flux reported on the next day. The authorities had demanded that the party be outlawed because, during the February electoral campaign in Moldova, Narodovlastie Party members supported Voronin's Party of Moldovan Communists. The authorities said the support was "an attack on the Transdniester Republic's sovereignty." Narodovlastie Party leader Aleksandr Radchenko said he will appeal the ruling. MS
 EU WANTS 'DEEDS, NOT DECLARATIONS' FROM MOLDOVAEU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told visiting Moldovan Premier Vasile Tarlev in Brussels on 14 May that the EU expects "fewer declarations and more action" from Moldova in order to advance cooperation between that state and the EU. Solana said the EU is "ready to respond in kind" to Moldovan actions. On 15 May, Tarlev told NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson that Moldova wants to enlarge its participation in the Partnership for Peace Program and that this depends to a large extent on the help NATO is willing to extend for this purpose. Tarlev said NATO is an "indispensable element in the new European security structure" and that it is "natural" that some states strive to join that structure. Moldova, he said "respects that will, but believes NATO enlargement must not bring about new division lines in Europe," Flux reported. MS
 BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER URGES MACEDONIA TO START 'CANDID DIALOGUE'Nadezhda Mihailova on 15 May in Brussels urged neighboring Macedonia to "immediately start a candid dialogue on the real problems underlying the [current] crisis." She said the setting up of the broad coalition in that country does not yet signify that the crisis in Macedonia is over, BTA reported. She said the dialogue "should involve all political forces [represented in the] parliament, [and] should target the further democratization of the political system [as well as a] comprehensive integration of Albanian Macedonians into that system." Mihailova and Defense Minister Boiko Noev were in Brussels for a meeting of foreign and defense ministers of EU member states and candidate countries, together with NATO members from outside Europe. MS
 BULGARIAN COURT ANNULS RADIO CHIEF APPOINTMENTA court of justice in Sofia ruled on 15 May that the naming of Ivan Borislavov as director general of Bulgarian state radio was made without respecting legal provisions and annulled the appointment, AFP reported. Borislavov's February appointment was contested through protests by members of the radio's staff, who challenged his professional qualifications for the job. Some 20 staff members were dismissed in the wake of the protests. The court ruled that the Union of Bulgarian Writers and Translators had not officially nominated Borislavov as a candidate for the position, and consequently his appointment by the Radio and Television Council, which was based on that nomination, was not legal. Borislavov suffered a heart attack in late February and the radio has since been run by one of his deputies. MS
[C] END NOTE
 LET US USE THIS CHANCE!The following is Part II of a three-part abridged version of the speech Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel delivered on 11 May to the Bratislava summit of NATO candidate countries.
...Peace, partnership and cooperation are imaginable only among those who know who they are. Knowledge of one's own identity is a fundamental prerequisite for any good relationship with others. If I do not know who I am, who I want to be, what I want to achieve, where I begin and where I end -- my relations with the rest of the world, and with those around me, will inevitably be tense, full of suspicion and burdened by an inferiority complex that may be hidden behind pompous bravado. Those who lack order in themselves, or at home, try to impose some kind of a substitute concept of order on everybody else. Distrust of oneself and uncertainty about one's own identity necessarily generate a distrust of others, imputation of evil intentions to the rest of the world and, eventually, an aggressiveness that may result in the invasion of other people's territories, or at the least in forcing one's own domination upon those who do not desire it.
You may have guessed, ladies and gentlemen, that I am now coming to a rather sensitive issue -- the relationship between NATO and the Russian Federation.
Unlike countries such as Mexico, Sweden, or Austria, who are not members of NATO but have common borders with it, Russia -- which is much larger and more powerful than all the other neighbors of the alliance combined -- is consistently disquieted by the NATO presence and is rather displeased to see it enlarge eastward.
I believe that there are two reasons why this is so. The first lies in the inert mode of thinking which persists from the Soviet era when NATO was for decades portrayed by the totalitarian regime and its media as the Soviet Union's arch-enemy... The second reason for Russia's disapproval of NATO is, to my mind, even more serious.
It lies in the problem of Russia's identity, or its self-understanding.
It seems to me that Russia -- despite the remarkable progress it has made toward democracy and market economy -- is somehow still grappling with a problem with which, to my knowledge, it has grappled for more or less its entire history, that is, with the question of where it begins and where it ends; what belongs to its domain and what is already beyond it; where it should exercise its decisive influence and from what point onward it cannot do so. Lack of a natural self-confidence of an entity that is sure of its identity, and thus also of its boundaries, seems to be replaced by a slightly imperialistic rhetoric accompanied by a nationalist bombast, which we know so well from people like Mr. Zhirinovsky, but which appears in Russia in a more cultured form on a much wider scale. For example, I find it almost absurd that such a large and powerful country should be alarmed by the prospect of three small democratic republics at its borders joining a regional grouping which it does not control; or, that it should feel a need to build around itself an additional cordon sanitaire -- at a time when hundreds of transcontinental missiles could destroy Moscow from Nevada, or New York from the Urals, in a matter of minutes.
You certainly understand that these words of mine do not emanate either from any aversion to Russia, or any feeling of superiority; or, on the other hand, from any fear of Russia. I am simply trying to be candid, to call things by their right names and to express my concern for good and friendly coexistence. But is friendship imaginable without candor?
Unlike many Western politicians who insincerely truckle to Russia, supposedly in the interests of peace and friendship, I believe that friendship with Russia is served best if we act toward it as equals and tell it the truth to its face, unpleasant as any such truth may be. It is my profound conviction that Russia does not deserve that we behave toward it as we would towards a leper, an invalid or a child who requires special treatment and whose whims, no matter how dangerous, must be understood and tolerated. In addition to the fact that such an attitude does not help Russia at all, and actually insults it, it also strengthens Russian misconceptions or doubtful inclinations. For that matter, such policy does not help the Western statesmen either, as it leads them toward sliding into hopeless compromises.
It is true that Russia is now engaged in a quest to newly discern its true self, or its identity; to define its position in today's world; and, to determine its very own mode of existence. Perhaps this quest will take a long time. But this is still no reason for approaching Russia on tiptoe. All regions in the present-day world have problems -- Russia with its self- understanding; Africa with its poverty, famine and tribal wars; the West with the dilemma of whether it will allow the civilization that it gave, and sometimes imposed on, this planet to destroy itself during the lifetime of several generations or whether it will find -- somewhere in the depths of its knowledge and conscience -- sources of a renewed sense of responsibility for the world.
Thus, we are not in a position to reproach one another. But we should all be frank with each other.
What, therefore, should the NATO-Russia relationship be in the future?
We occasionally hear the opinion that Russia should be offered membership in the alliance, and that absence of this offer would be an expression of discrimination. Personally, I find it rather difficult to imagine Russia as a NATO member; moreover, I do not think that its membership would serve any good purpose.
Russia is a huge Euro-Asian power that will always play a very specific role in world politics. It is true that a part of Russia lies in Europe and that Russia's spiritual wealth has always had a pronounced influence on the rest of Europe and vice versa. But this does not mean that Russia should simply be included in the region that we call the West. Not because it [was] in any way inferior, but simply because the modern structuring of the world, based on cooperation among various clearly delimited regions or historically determined entities, would thus lose meaning: anything could extend anywhere; any balance would be disrupted; all regional organizations could eventually turn into countless, and absolutely toothless, replicas of the United Nations...
...The true path to peace is the path of discussion, on a footing of equality, among clearly delimited and identifiable entities within the multipolar world of today. Or were blurred borders -- that is, an uncertainty as to where entities began and where they ended -- not the most frequent cause of wars in the past?
There is the Founding Act, which creates preconditions for a true partnership and cooperation based on equality between NATO and Russia. I think that this is the right way to go -- although it has been little used so far -- and that this solution is not only much more appropriate to the general situation and to the overall distribution of power, but also much more dignified for Russia itself, as Russia alone is put here, and rightly so, de facto on the same footing as the community of all the 19 members of the alliance...
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty