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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 100, 01-05-25

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. 100, 25 May 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA, KAZAKHSTAN REVIEW BILATERAL RELATIONS
  • [02] ARMENIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MEET
  • [03] ARMENIA SETS NEW SCHEDULE FOR ENERGY PRIVATIZATION
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN, PAKISTAN TO DEVELOP MILITARY COOPERATION
  • [05] CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER GUNNED DOWN IN AZERBAIJAN
  • [06] GEORGIAN MILITARY UNIT MUTINIES
  • [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT INSISTS THAT PERSONNEL AT RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE USE GEORGIAN CURRENCY
  • [08] KAZAKH MINISTER ASSESSES ECONOMIC TRENDS
  • [09] ONLY ONE-THIRD OF KAZAKHSTAN'S POPULATION SPEAK KAZAKH
  • [10] KYRGYZ PREMIER CALLS FOR GREATER CABINET DISCIPLINE
  • [11] KYRGYZ FOREIGN MINISTER ACCUSES PARLIAMENT OF 'POLITICAL GAMES'
  • [12] PUTATIVE MURDERERS OF TAJIK OFFICIAL ARRESTED
  • [13] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ACQUIRES NEW HONORARY TITLE

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WANTS ETHNIC ALBANIAN PARTIES TO RENOUNCE DEAL WITH REBELS...
  • [15] ...AS NATO, EU OFFICIALS, U.S. EMBASSY CRITICIZE THE AGREEMENT
  • [16] OSCE ISSUES STATEMENT OF APOLOGY
  • [17] MACEDONIAN ARMY UNLEASHES MAJOR OFFENSIVE
  • [18] YUGOSLAV FORCES KILL ALBANIAN REBEL COMMANDER IN BUFFER ZONE
  • [19] SERBIAN POLICE BEING INVESTIGATED FOR CRIMES IN KOSOVA
  • [20] CROATIAN, YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS END TO BORDER DISPUTE
  • [21] CROATIAN PREMIER SAYS INCOMPLETE VICTORY WILL STRENGTHEN GOVERNMENT
  • [22] BOSNIAN EXILE FOUNDS HISTORICAL LIBRARY IN SARAJEVO
  • [23] LEAFLETS URGE MUSLIMS TO LEAVE BOSNIAN SERB TOWN
  • [24] ROMANIA TO HAVE NEW LAW ON STATE SECRETS
  • [25] BREAKAWAY REPUBLIC INTRODUCES OWN PASSPORTS
  • [26] MOLDOVA APPOINTS SUPREME COURT CHIEF
  • [27] BTA SURVEYS MAIN BULGARIAN ELECTORAL COMPETITORS' ECONOMIC PLATFORMS

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [28] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA, KAZAKHSTAN REVIEW BILATERAL RELATIONS

    Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev held talks in Yerevan on 23 May with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian on the eve of the CIS Collective Security Treaty summit, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. The two presidents gave a positive assessment to political relations and to cooperation within the framework of the CIS and of the CIS Collective Security Treaty, but acknowledged that transportation difficulties constitute a barrier to expanding economic cooperation, Noyan Tapan reported. Nazarbaev said such cooperation could extend to Armenian participation in the exploitation of Kazakhstan's hydrocarbon reserves, according to Interfax. Meeting on 24 May with faculty members at Yerevan State University, Nazarbaev disclosed that at the Istanbul summit of Turcophone states last month he blocked a proposal by Azerbaijan to include in the final communique a formal condemnation of Armenia for aggression in the Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Nazarbaev said the inclusion of such a formulation would have complicated the search for a settlement of the Karabakh conflict, adding that the use of meetings of such international organizations to try to resolve political issues "is not acceptable to Kazakhstan." Together with then Russian President Boris Yeltsin, in September 1991 Nazarbaev mediated an albeit short-lived cease- fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MEET

    Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Yerevan on 24 May amid tight security to participate in the CIS Collective Security Treaty signatories' summit the following day. Meeting with his Armenian counterpart Kocharian, Putin discussed the summit agenda and bilateral political and economic relations, and "exchanged thoughts" on the Karabakh peace process, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported quoting the Armenian presidential press service. LF

    [03] ARMENIA SETS NEW SCHEDULE FOR ENERGY PRIVATIZATION

    The Armenian government on 24 May set a deadline of late November 2001 for completion of a new international tender to privatize four state-owned energy distribution networks, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported on 24 May. A previous attempt to sell off those networks ended in failure last month when the last two shortlisted bidders pulled out (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 April 2001). Disbursement of the final tranche of a new World Bank $50 million Structural Adjustment Credit is conditional on the successful privatization of the four networks. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN, PAKISTAN TO DEVELOP MILITARY COOPERATION

    Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiev met in Islamabad on 23 May with Pakistan's leader General Parviz Musharraf to discuss developing trade and economic relations and strengthening military cooperation, Turan reported. Abiev gave Musharraf an invitation from Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev to visit Azerbaijan. Abiev also discussed with the Pakistani Defense Ministry the prospects for purchasing arms and ammunition and for training Azerbaijani officers in Pakistan. On 24 May Abiev and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar signed a written pledge to develop bilateral defense cooperation, and will sign further protocols and memoranda of understanding on specific fields, Reuters reported on 24 May. LF

    [05] CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER GUNNED DOWN IN AZERBAIJAN

    Magomed Koriev, head of the department for fighting organized crime within the Chechen Interior Ministry, was shot dead in his apartment in Baku late on 22 May, the press service of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov told an RFE/RL correspondent. Koriev was shot eight times at close range. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN MILITARY UNIT MUTINIES

    Several hundred national guard and army troops quit their base at Norio near Tbilisi on 25 May and barricaded themselves in an Interior Ministry facility at Mukhrovani, east of the capital, international and Georgian agencies reported. Some accounts say the troops are protesting appalling conditions and pay arrears of up to 14 months, while others quote Georgian presidential spokesman Kahka Imnadze as saying their demands are unclear; Russian television has reported that they are demanding that the Georgian government resign, according to dpa. Security Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze termed their action an attempted coup d'etat, Caucasus Press reported. The insurgents released some 40 people hostages after talks with former National Security chief and opposition parliament deputy Irakli Batiashvili. Security has been tightened in Tbilisi and the Georgian armed forces are on full alert; many troops, however, are currently deployed on the Black Sea coast where they began large-scale maneuvers on 23 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 2001). LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT INSISTS THAT PERSONNEL AT RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE USE GEORGIAN CURRENCY

    In a move that is likely to alienate the Armenian population of southern Georgia, the Georgian parliament on 24 May adopted a declaration requiring that the personnel of the Akhalkalaki military base in southern Georgia use the Georgian lari for all financial transactions, Caucasus Press reported. The declaration said the exclusion of the lari in the region "could be regarded as financial aggression against Georgia." Not only the personnel at the Akhalkalaki base but also the predominantly Armenian population of the region use the Russian ruble for financial transactions. LF

    [08] KAZAKH MINISTER ASSESSES ECONOMIC TRENDS

    Speaking at a press conference in Astana on 24 May, Deputy Prime Minister Uraz Djandosov said that the government will in the near future revise upwards its estimates for key macro-economic indicators for 2001, Interfax reported. Djandosov said GDP growth is expected to be higher than the 4 percent originally envisaged. He added that the budget deficit should preferably not exceed 1.5 - 1.7 percent of GDP and can be financed from internal sources without recourse to international loans. The 2001 budget entails a 2.1 percent deficit. LF

    [09] ONLY ONE-THIRD OF KAZAKHSTAN'S POPULATION SPEAK KAZAKH

    Only 36 percent of Kazakhstan's 14.9 million population can speak, read, and write Kazakh fluently, Interfax quoted Culture and Information Minister Mukhtar Kulmuhammed as telling a seminar in Almaty on 24 May. Almost all those 36 percent are Kazakhs, who are the largest ethnic group (53.4 percent) in Kazakhstan. More than half the total population has some knowledge of Kazakh, but 20 percent of Kazakhs are not fluent in their native language. LF

    [10] KYRGYZ PREMIER CALLS FOR GREATER CABINET DISCIPLINE

    Kurmanbek Bakiev criticized unnamed members of his cabinet on 24 May for incompetence, lack of professionalism and discipline, and failure to work together as a team, Interfax reported. He warned ministers to desist from "political rivalry" or risk dismissal. LF

    [11] KYRGYZ FOREIGN MINISTER ACCUSES PARLIAMENT OF 'POLITICAL GAMES'

    Speaking at a news conference in Bishkek on 24 May, Muratbek Imanaliev said that the delimitation of the Kyrgyz-Chinese border was implemented in a way that benefits Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. He added that under the agreement signed in August 1999 by the Kyrgyz and Chinese presidents, Kyrgyzstan retained 70 percent of the disputed Uzengi-Kuush region while ceding the remaining 30 percent to China. Imanaliev accused those parliament deputies who accuse President Askar Akaev of harming the national interest and violating the constitution by signing away that territory of "playing a political game" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 24 May 2001). LF

    [12] PUTATIVE MURDERERS OF TAJIK OFFICIAL ARRESTED

    Four people have now been arrested in Tajikistan on suspicion of the contract killing in April of Deputy Interior Minister Habib Sanginov, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 23 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 and 12 April 2001). Police are still searching for a fifth suspect. LF

    [13] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ACQUIRES NEW HONORARY TITLE

    The World Humanitarian Turkmen Association has bestowed on Saparmurat Niyazov the title "Turkmenbashi the Great," Interfax reported on 24 May citing the Turkmen press. Two days earlier, Niyazov had professed to being weary of the cult of personality of which he is the focus (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 May 2001). On 23 May, Niyazov criticized editors of media outlets for lavishing disproportionate praise on him and thereby creating the impression that there are no other topics on which to comment. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT WANTS ETHNIC ALBANIAN PARTIES TO RENOUNCE DEAL WITH REBELS...

    Boris Trajkovski on 24 May urged the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party (DPA) of Albanians and the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) to renounce an agreement they signed with the political leader of the National Liberation Army (UCK), the ethnic Albanian rebels who are fighting the Macedonian army, Reuters reported. Trajkovski said "it will be impossible to work together" if the deal is not renounced by the leaders of the two ethnic Albanian parties -- which are part of a broad unity government. He said the two parties must show "the terrorists that they will not be allowed to participate in the decision making for the future of Macedonia." But the DPA's Arben Xhaferi -- who along with the PDP's Imer Imeri signed the deal brokered by OSCE envoy Robert Frowick -- said he "stands by the platform" of the agreement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 2001). He added that he will leave the grand coalition government if Western diplomats insist that he distance himself from the agreement. PB

    [15] ...AS NATO, EU OFFICIALS, U.S. EMBASSY CRITICIZE THE AGREEMENT

    NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson joined a litany of criticism of the ethnic Albanian parties-UCK agreement on 24 May, saying that ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia have no role in the negotiating process, Reuters reported. Robertson said "the men of violence...have no place in this process. They have no democratic legitimacy and thus no place at the negotiating table." German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also denounced the rebel agreement with the ethnic Albanian political parties, saying that the rebel force "cannot be accepted in the political process as a partner with equal rights with democratically legitimized parties." The U.S. Embassy in Skopje said the deal is a "totally unacceptable...effort to bring this insurgent group into the state structures. There should be no accommodations made for violence or violent groups." PB

    [16] OSCE ISSUES STATEMENT OF APOLOGY

    The OSCE mission in Skopje issued a statement on 24 May "reaffirming its commitment" to the international community after its Balkan envoy, U.S. diplomat Robert Frowick, was reported to have been the man responsible for the agreement between the two major ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia and the UCK, dpa reported. In the statement, the OSCE said it is committed to the "reiterated positions of the international community" made by the EU and NATO that the UCK insurgents "do not have any legal status and in the present situation cannot be considered as partners in the political dialogue." Carlo Ungaro, an OSCE representative in Skopje, said Frowick had been "acting on his own." Frowick was said to have been told by the Macedonian government that his services are no longer needed in the country and he reportedly flew to Bucharest via Vienna to report to the Romanian foreign minister, who is the current chairman of the OSCE. PB

    [17] MACEDONIAN ARMY UNLEASHES MAJOR OFFENSIVE

    The Macedonian army used tanks and helicopter gunships in a major assault on 24 May in an effort to dislodge ethnic Albanian rebels from their positions north of Skopje, Reuters reported. The fighting centered on the villages of Vaksince and Slupcane, and reports said the Macedonian army was seen on hills overlooking villages that were previously held by rebels. Door-to-door fighting in the villages was also reported. Rebels are dug in at some 11 villages in the area. There were reports of dozens of rebel casualties and several civilians; four Macedonian policemen are also reported to have been injured. The Red Cross said some 1,500 ethnic Albanians fled across the border town of Miratovac into Serbia. Hundreds of other civilians fled Vaksince and some other villages and gathered at a train station at Tabanovce. PB

    [18] YUGOSLAV FORCES KILL ALBANIAN REBEL COMMANDER IN BUFFER ZONE

    Serbian Deputy Premier Nebojsa Covic said on 25 May that Yugoslav forces killed Ridvan Qazimi during a three-hour firefight the previous day in the former buffer zone between Kosova and the rest of Serbia, AP reported. Qazimi, known as Commander Lleshi, was killed shortly after a meeting with Shawn Sullivan, NATO's envoy in Yugoslavia. Covic emphasized that Lleshi's death "was not an assassination. He was killed in an exchange of fire with the Yugoslav army." Covic said that there are hard-liners among the rebels who "are doing all they can to provoke clashes," most of them, he said, in the village of Dobrosin. Ethnic Albanian sources said that dozens of armed men gathered in the village of Trnovac upon hearing of Lleshi's death. Covic's announcement contradicted a statement made by Yugoslavia's "joint security forces press center" in Bujanovac on 24 May that denied its forces were involved in the incident. PB

    [19] SERBIAN POLICE BEING INVESTIGATED FOR CRIMES IN KOSOVA

    General Sreten Lukic, the head of Serbian police, said on 24 May that some 66 policemen are being investigated on suspicion of committing crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosova, Reuters reported. Lukic said policemen under investigation are immediately suspended. He said the 66 are being investigated for such crimes as murder, theft, arson, and armed robbery. Lukic said: "Serbia has chosen the democratic way, the way of facing the truth, and I'm sure we'll succeed in it." Lukic was head of police in Kosova during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and his appointment in January was followed by sharp criticism in the media. Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said he "personally checked Lukic's record and found nothing wrong." PB

    [20] CROATIAN, YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS END TO BORDER DISPUTE

    At a meeting in the south Croatian city of Split on 24 May, foreign ministers Tonino Picula and Goran Svilanovic of Croatia and Yugoslavia, respectively, praised their countries' current relations and expressed hopes of resolving all disputes between them as soon as possible, AP reported. Chief among those unresolved problems is the border dispute concerning the southern peninsula of Prevlaka, on the border with Montenegro. The UN recognizes Prevlaka as part of Croatia and has administered the peninsula since 1991. "Croatia is our neighbor that we care for, and we want an active trade with it, which, of course, means that we should solve our disputes, including Prevlaka," Svilanovic said. DW

    [21] CROATIAN PREMIER SAYS INCOMPLETE VICTORY WILL STRENGTHEN GOVERNMENT

    Ivica Racan told Reuters on 24 May that the failure of his ruling coalition to win outright in the 20 May local elections will actually strengthen it as it tackles tough political and economic reforms in the coming months. Even though his coalition of six center-left parties defeated the nationalist Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) in two-thirds of the counties, none of the parties won decisively enough to form a government on its own. Racan said this would only bind the coalition parties more closely to each other and improve discipline. He called the results a "clear warning" to his coalition, adding that there will be no more "double standards." "We will have to make everybody in the government take equal responsibility for all our moves." Racan said his government's hardest task will be the reform of social benefits, which has seen the government's budget swell to 50 percent of Croatia's GDP. DW

    [22] BOSNIAN EXILE FOUNDS HISTORICAL LIBRARY IN SARAJEVO

    In keeping with Bosnian Muslim tradition of the wealthy building public works to be remembered by, Bosnian exile Adil-Bey Zulfikarpasic on 24 May opened a library and art center in Sarajevo, AP reported the same day. The $10 million complex of galleries and libraries will be the most complete archive of Bosnian history to date. "I have built this institute...with the intention to allow every Bosnian with good will and curiosity to accept it as his own," Zulfikarpasic said, adding that he hopes Bosnia's Croats, Muslims, and Serbs will find evidence of their common identity through his memorial. DW

    [23] LEAFLETS URGE MUSLIMS TO LEAVE BOSNIAN SERB TOWN

    Two leaflets displayed in the town of Doboj in Republika Srpska on 23 May warn Muslim residents to leave, and call on Serb residents to prevent the reconstruction of the Trnjak mosque, SRNA reported the next day. One leaflet urges "all Muslim nationals to leave the Serb town of Doboj, especially those who have recently moved into the area around the mosque and set up their shops there." The leaflets are signed by the "Serbia as far as Tokyo" and Greater Serbia organizations, neither of which are known to have previously operated or existed in Doboj. DW

    [24] ROMANIA TO HAVE NEW LAW ON STATE SECRETS

    The parliament's commission that supervises the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service decided on 24 May to initiate a new draft of the law on state secrets, RFE/RL's Bucharest Bureau reported. The Constitutional Court has ruled a previous version of that law to be unconstitutional (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 April 2001). Commission chairman Ion Stan said that Romania currently lacks legislation on protecting state secrets, although it has pledged to pass such a law as part of its preparations for NATO accession. He also said that in preparing the new version of the law, the members of the commission will take into consideration NATO expertise as well as U.S. legislation. MS

    [25] BREAKAWAY REPUBLIC INTRODUCES OWN PASSPORTS

    Igor Smirnov, leader of the breakaway "Transdniester Moldovan Republic," has signed a decree replacing Soviet-era passports with documents issued by the separatist authorities. Smirnov's decree was issued on 11 May but was released for publication only on 24 May. Infotag says this means that Smirnov has succeeded in "trapping" Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, who signed an agreement with Smirnov in Tiraspol on 16 May on the mutual recognition of documents issued by the Chisinau and Tiraspol authorities. The new "Transdniester passports" are to be issued in Russian, "Moldovan" (written with Cyrillic characters) and Ukrainian. MS

    [26] MOLDOVA APPOINTS SUPREME COURT CHIEF

    Former Justice Minister Valeria Sterbet was appointed by the parliament on 24 May to be the country's next chief of the Supreme Court of Justice, Infotag reported. She replaces Victor Puscas, who has been appointed a judge on the Constitutional Court. Sterbet was backed by 72 deputies. One deputy voted for another competitor for the job, while two candidates ended the race without any support. MS

    [27] BTA SURVEYS MAIN BULGARIAN ELECTORAL COMPETITORS' ECONOMIC PLATFORMS

    All three lists heading opinion polls conducted ahead of the June parliamentary elections forecast high economic growth if they win the ballot, according to a BTA survey released on 24 May. The ruling alliance of the United Democratic Forces (SDS) believes the growth will be 5 percent, and the Socialist-dominated For Bulgaria alliance between 5 and 7 percent. The National Movement Simeon II promises 10 percent growth. The SDS says it will aim for a 2 percent budget deficit or less, the former monarch's movement wants a "zero deficit," and the leftist alliance says it will keep the deficit "moderate." The SDS promises an average monthly salary of 420 leva ($185) by the end of the four year term and expects pensions to reach 160-170 leva by 2005. The For Bulgaria alliance has very similar expectations, while the movement has failed to produce specific figures, though it promises high wages and pensions. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [28] There is no End Note today.

    25-05-01

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


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