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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 137, 01-07-23

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. 137, 23 July 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON DEBTS
  • [02] ARMENIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER DISMISSED
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN CREATES NEW COUNCIL TO OVERSEE MEDIA, INTERNET
  • [04] SENIOR IRANIAN SECURITY OFFICIAL VISITS AZERBAIJAN...
  • [05] ...AND GEORGIA
  • [06] U.S. AMBASSADOR TO OSCE SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM
  • [07] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SAYS VIGILANTE GROUPS SHOULD DISBAND, JOIN
  • [08] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTIES DEPLORE SUPREME COURT RULING
  • [09] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER HOSPITALIZED
  • [10] TAJIKISTAN CLAIMS INSURGENT FORMER FIELD COMMANDER KILLED
  • [11] RUSSIA BLAMES MURDER OF TAJIK PRESIDENT'S ADVISER ON BIN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [12] MACEDONIAN CEASE-FIRE BROKEN
  • [13] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS RUSSIAN HELP, PLANS TO MEET BUSH
  • [14] HUNGER-STRIKING KOSOVA SERBS HOSPITALIZED
  • [15] KOSOVA SERBS TO TAKE PART IN ELECTIONS
  • [16] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT DETERMINED TO GO AHEAD WITH
  • [17] ...AMID 'CONCERNS' FROM SERBIA
  • [18] MONTENEGRO TO CUT POLICE FORCE
  • [19] BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT: NO WAR CRIMINALS HERE
  • [20] REMAINS OF ALBANIAN COMMUNIST LEADER FOUND
  • [21] ALBANIA'S ANSWER TO FLORIDA
  • [22] ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN PREMIERS TO MEET ON 28 JULY
  • [23] CHINESE PRESIDENT VISITS MOLDOVA
  • [24] BULGARIA'S SIMEON SIGNS COALITION AGREEMENT WITH ETHNIC
  • [25] ...UNVEILS HIS CABINET
  • [26] BULGARIA'S SOCIALISTS TO ABSTAIN FROM VOTE ON PREMIER
  • [27] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT THANKS KOSTOV

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [28] There is no end note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON DEBTS

    During talks in

    Yerevan on 19-20 July, visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister

    Ilya Klebanov and Armenian government officials reached

    agreement that Russia is to receive a stake in various

    Armenian state-owned enterprises in return for writing off

    Yerevan's $88 million debt to Moscow, RFE/RL' s Yerevan

    bureau reported. Klebanov told journalists that Moscow is

    particularly interested in the energy and mining sectors.

    Among the enterprises he visited the previous day together

    with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian was the Zangezur

    copper-molybdenum plant in southern Armenia, according to

    Noyan Tapan. Russian investment in that plant is one of the

    issues to be discussed during a planned visit to Armenia by

    Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sarkisian pointed out that

    Russian investment could enable the plant to produce

    molybdenum for sale at $20,000-$25,000 per ton, rather than

    continuing to produce enriched copper ore at a sale price of

    $2,000 per ton, according to Noyan Tapan. A package of

    documents on closer bilateral economic cooperation is to be

    signed during Putin's visit. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER DISMISSED

    Armenian President

    Robert Kocharian on 21 July fired Environment Minister Murad

    Muradian, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Muradian

    represented the Kayunutiun (Stability) parliament faction,

    whose leader Vartan Ayvazian reportedly hopes to succeed him

    in the government. But if Ayvazian is offered, and accepts, a

    cabinet post, he would have to relinquish his deputy's

    mandate, leaving the Kayunutiun faction with only nine

    deputies, one less than the minimum 10 (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 20 July 2001). LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN CREATES NEW COUNCIL TO OVERSEE MEDIA, INTERNET

    Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev has signed a decree

    creating a national council to monitor the implementation of

    legislation relating to the media and the Internet, Turan

    quoted presidential administration official Ali Hasanov as

    telling journalists in Baku on 20 July. It will also issue

    licenses for TV and radio stations and for Internet

    providers. The council will comprise three separate

    commissions for the print media, the electronic media, and

    the Internet, and have 39 members -- of whom 18 will be

    appointed directly by the president and the remainder by the

    media and political parties. Also on 20 July, Aliev issued a

    decree on financial support for the mass media to enable them

    to resolve problems connected with the transition from the

    Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet, Turan reported. LF

    [04] SENIOR IRANIAN SECURITY OFFICIAL VISITS AZERBAIJAN...

    Iranian

    National Security Council Secretary Hasan Rowhani held talks

    in Baku on 20 July with President Aliev and Azerbaijani

    Foreign Minister Vilayet Quliev, Turan reported. Rowhani

    assured both officials of Tehran's support for Azerbaijan's

    territorial integrity and of its readiness to contribute to a

    solution to the Karabakh conflict with the aim of promoting

    peace and stability in the South Caucasus. Aliev and Rowhani

    also discussed the prospects for cooperation in the field of

    transport, specifically the planned creation of a north-south

    rail and road corridor linking Russia and Iran via

    Azerbaijan, according to ITAR-TASS. It was also agreed that

    Aliev's long-planned and frequently postponed visit to Iran

    could take place next month, presidential administration head

    Ramiz Mekhtiev told journalists on 20 July, according to

    Turan. LF

    [05] ...AND GEORGIA

    On 18-19 July, Rowhani held talks in Tbilisi

    with parliament speaker Zurab Zhvania and President Eduard

    Shevardnadze, Caucasus Press reported. Rowhani expressed his

    support for Georgia's territorial integrity, warning that any

    border changes in the South Caucasus could give rise to

    instability throughout the region, IRNA reported. Both sides

    agreed on the benefits of expanded economic cooperation. LF

    [06] U.S. AMBASSADOR TO OSCE SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM

    GEORGIAN BASE

    Caucasus Press on 20 July quoted the U.S.

    ambassador to the OCSE, David Johnson, as telling that

    organization's Permanent Council that Russia should comply

    with its commitment to vacate the Gudauta military base in

    Abkhazia. Also on 20 July, Georgian Foreign Ministry

    spokesman Kakha Sikharulidze told journalists in Tbilisi that

    the Georgian government would allow Moscow to deploy up to

    100 troops at that base to protect it from possible attack by

    Abkhaz forces, but not the 400 men the Russian side proposed.

    He added that Tbilisi would not object to the Russian

    peacekeeping troops currently deployed in western Georgia

    using the Gudauta facility, but that Georgia would not agree

    to designating it formally a rehabilitation center for those

    troops. On 23 July, Caucasus Press quoted Sikharulidze as

    saying that Moscow opposes any inspection of the Gudauta base

    by international observers. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT SAYS VIGILANTE GROUPS SHOULD DISBAND, JOIN

    POLICE

    In his traditional Monday radio interview, President

    Shevardnadze on 23 July said that while he does not doubt the

    "good will and decency" of members of the unofficial

    vigilante groups created in eastern Georgia to combat crime

    in the Pankisi gorge, those groups should be disbanded,

    Caucasus Press reported. He added that their members "are

    welcome" to join the police, alluding to the excesses

    committed by unofficial paramilitaries in Georgia in the

    early 1990s. Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze had argued

    last week that the vigilantes should be disarmed and

    disbanded, but their leader, Luka Ramazashvili, replied that

    his men will not surrender their weapons (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 20 July 2001). Shevardnadze announced his

    intention of traveling to eastern Georgia "in the near

    future" to meet with residents of Pankisi and neighboring

    districts. LF

    [08] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTIES DEPLORE SUPREME COURT RULING

    The

    opposition Ar-Namys Party issued a statement in Bishkek on 20

    July condemning as politically motivated the Supreme Court's

    rejection the previous day of Ar-Namys Chairman Feliks

    Kulov's appeal against the seven-year prison term to which he

    was sentenced in January, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 2001 and 20 July 2001).

    Ata-Meken Party Chairman Omurbek Tekebaev similarly

    criticized the court's decision. He told RFE/RL the entire

    judicial system in Kyrgyzstan is dependent on the government.

    Aziza Abdrasulova of the Erkindik (Liberty) Party said she

    thinks the Kyrgyz leadership wants to exclude Kulov from

    national politics "forever." LF

    [09] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION LEADER HOSPITALIZED

    Erkindik Party

    Chairman Topchubek Turgunaliev was taken on 20 July from the

    prison camp where he is serving a six-year sentence to a

    prison hospital near Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

    reported. It is not clear what health problems he is

    suffering from. Turgunaliev, 59, was sentenced last September

    on what are widely believed to be fabricated charges of

    plotting to assassinate President Askar Akaev. LF

    [10] TAJIKISTAN CLAIMS INSURGENT FORMER FIELD COMMANDER KILLED

    Mansur Muakkalov, a former lieutenant colonel in the Tajik

    army who sided with former opposition field commander Rakhmon

    Sanginov to protest official reprisals against his men, was

    killed late on 20 July in a shootout with Tajik security

    forces northeast of Dushanbe, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported

    on 21 July, quoting a Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman.

    Tajik officials have already claimed several times to have

    neutralized Sanginov's group (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 and 16

    July 2001). Sanginov himself is believed to be still at

    large. LF

    [11] RUSSIA BLAMES MURDER OF TAJIK PRESIDENT'S ADVISER ON BIN

    LADEN

    The murder last week in Dushanbe of President Imomali

    Rakhmonov's foreign policy adviser Karim Yuldashev (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2001) was committed on orders from

    Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden with the aim of

    destabilizing the situation within Tajikistan, an unnamed

    senior Russian military official based in Tajikistan told

    Interfax on 20 July. He said the murder was discussed and

    planned at a meeting in Pakistan last month. He added that

    bin Laden has allocated $1 million for subversive activities

    in Tajikistan. It is not clear whether he offered any

    evidence to substantiate those claims. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [12] MACEDONIAN CEASE-FIRE BROKEN

    Heavy fighting between ethnic

    Albanian rebels of the National Liberation Army (UCK) and

    Macedonian government security forces broke out in the

    villages of Sipkovica, Gajre, and Selce near Tetovo at about

    11:00 a.m. local time on 22 July, the Skopje daily "Dnevnik"

    reported on 23 July. The exchange of machine-gun fire lasted

    until 12:30 p.m. It was the most serious breach yet of a 17-

    day-old cease-fire, which has otherwise largely held (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 July 2001). Two Macedonian soldiers were

    reportedly injured slightly during the clashes. Unnamed

    "Western sources" told Reuters on 22 July that the Macedonian

    military responded "disproportionally" to a "couple of rounds

    of incoming fire." Two Russian-built Sukhoi 25 aircraft flew

    over UCK positions. "Dnevnik" added that there were a number

    of clashes between Macedonian security forces and insurgents

    during the night of 21 to 22 July. On 23 July, Macedonian

    Defense Ministry officials reported renewed fighting. A UCK

    commander told dpa, however, that the Macedonian authorities

    are simply seeking to increase tension. UB/PM

    [13] MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT SEEKS RUSSIAN HELP, PLANS TO MEET BUSH

    In Genoa on 22 July, the G8 leaders called for unspecified

    changes in Macedonia "that ensure the participation of all

    citizens in the political life of the country and the highest

    respect for the identity and rights of all communities,"

    Reuters reported. Also in Genoa, Sergei Prikhodko, an aide to

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Macedonian

    President Boris Trajkovski has asked Putin for unspecified

    "help" in ending the conflict, AP reported. Elsewhere, the

    Serbian news agency Beta reported that Trajkovski will meet

    U.S. President George W. Bush in conjunction with the

    American leader's trip to Camp Bondsteel in Kosova on 24

    July. The two men will meet at an undisclosed location that

    is neither in Kosova nor in Macedonia. PM

    [14] HUNGER-STRIKING KOSOVA SERBS HOSPITALIZED

    Five of the 58

    Kosova Serbs who have been on a hunger strike for a week were

    hospitalized on 22 July, AP reported from Gracanica. The five

    received medication but refused food and water. The hunger-

    strikers are demanding that the UN and NATO help find their

    loved ones who have been missing since the 1999 Kosova

    conflict. Some 1,300 Serbs were reported missing at that

    time. PM

    [15] KOSOVA SERBS TO TAKE PART IN ELECTIONS

    Leaders of the Kosova

    branches of two Serbian parties, the Christian Democratic

    Party of Serbia (DHS) and the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO),

    said that their parties will take part in the 17 November

    elections, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from

    Gracanica on 22 July. Rada Trajkovic, who is also the

    nationwide vice president of the DHS, said that her party is

    "fulfilling an obligation that the international community

    asked it to." Vladan Batic, who heads the DHS, has said that

    conditions have not yet been created for the Serbs to take

    part in the vote. Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has

    expressed views similar to those of Batic, RFE/RL's South

    Slavic Service reported on 21 July. PM

    [16] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT DETERMINED TO GO AHEAD WITH

    REFERENDUM...

    Milo Djukanovic said in Podgorica on 22 July

    that the government is determined to go ahead with plans for

    a referendum on independence, "Pobjeda" reported. He added

    that the conditions for the vote remain open to negotiations,

    as does the date. Djukanovic said that the referendum could

    take place at any time through June 2002. PM

    [17] ...AMID 'CONCERNS' FROM SERBIA

    Serbian Deputy Prime Minister

    Nebojsa Covic said in Belgrade on 22 July that one cannot

    speak of Montenegro separating from Serbia in the same way as

    Bosnia and Croatia did. He added that in the case of

    Montenegro and Serbia, "this is a matter of one and the same

    people," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. Elsewhere,

    the pro-Belgrade Podgorica daily "Dan" reported that the

    Yugoslav supreme military command wants Serbia and Montenegro

    to remain together to preserve the military and strategic

    balance in the Balkans. The paper did not name a source for

    these remarks, but "Vijesti" reported that General Nebojsa

    Pavkovic, who heads the General Staff, visited the

    Montenegrin coast over the weekend. The reported remarks are

    similar to ones often made by Yugoslav President Vojislav

    Kostunica, who is widely believed to be politically close to

    the army leadership. PM

    [18] MONTENEGRO TO CUT POLICE FORCE

    Interior Minister Andrija

    Jovicevic told "Vijesti" of 23 July that the government will

    soon reduce the size of the paramilitary police force "in

    keeping with EU standards," dpa reported. He said that a

    large police force is no longer necessary in view of the

    ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in October

    2000. As long as he was in power, there remained a danger

    that Belgrade would use force against the government in

    Podgorica. Jovicevic added that the Montenegrin government

    will set up a special unit to fight organized crime. PM

    [19] BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT: NO WAR CRIMINALS HERE

    Republika

    Srpska President Mirko Sarovic said that his government will

    cooperate with The Hague-based war crimes tribunal but denied

    that there are any indicted war criminals on Bosnian Serb

    territory, AP reported from Sarajevo on 21 July. PM

    [20] REMAINS OF ALBANIAN COMMUNIST LEADER FOUND

    Nearly 20 years

    after his reported "suicide," the remains of former Prime

    Minister Mehmet Shehu were found on 21 July near the Erzen

    River in the village of Ndroq between Tirana and the

    Adriatic, AP reported. He is widely believed to have been

    killed on the orders of his former colleague, Enver Hoxha, or

    forced into taking his own life under pressure. Shehu's wife,

    Fiqirete, died in a communist labor camp in 1988, and his

    eldest son committed suicide. Shehu's two surviving sons had

    looked for their father's grave since the fall of communism

    in 1991. They plan to rebury him in a Tirana cemetery next to

    his wife. Mehmet Shehu was long regarded as Hoxha's right-

    hand man. The circumstances of his death in December 1981

    remain a mystery. PM

    [21] ALBANIA'S ANSWER TO FLORIDA

    In the most drawn-out elections

    in Albanian history, voters cast their ballots in a repeat

    vote in eight districts on 22 July, AP reported (see "RFE/RL

    Balkan Report," 20 July 2001).Voters will cast their ballots

    once again in an additional two districts on 29 July. The

    first round of voting took place on 24 June, and the runoff

    was held on 8 July. The Socialists won a majority, albeit not

    as large a majority as in 1997. The opposition claimed fraud

    in a number of cases, but the Central Election Commission and

    Constitutional Court dismissed most of the complaints. PM

    [22] ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN PREMIERS TO MEET ON 28 JULY

    Romanian

    government spokesman Claudiu Lucaci announced on 20 July that

    Premier Adrian Nastase will meet his Hungarian counterpart

    Viktor Orban on 28 July near the Transylvanian city of Targu

    Mures, Romanian media reported. The two are to discuss

    Romanian opposition to the Hungarian Status Law recently

    adopted by parliament. Nastase on 20 July said that during

    Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi's 13 July visit in

    Bucharest, the parties "agreed that they disagree" on the

    issue (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 2001). ZsM

    [23] CHINESE PRESIDENT VISITS MOLDOVA

    Chinese President Jiang

    Zemin on 20 July made a one-day visit to Chisinau, Flux

    reported. Jiang and his Moldovan counterpart Vladimir Voronin

    signed a common declaration aimed at boosting bilateral

    relations in the name of "regional and world peace and

    progress." The Chinese leader expressed his country's respect

    for the "independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity"

    of Moldova, and its "support" for efforts to solve the

    Transdniester conflict. ZsM

    [24] BULGARIA'S SIMEON SIGNS COALITION AGREEMENT WITH ETHNIC

    TURKS...

    Former Bulgarian king and Premier-designate Simeon

    Saxecoburggotski signed a coalition agreement with Movement

    for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) leader Ahmed Dogan on 20 July,

    Reuters reported. The agreement marks the first time that the

    ethnic Turkish party has been represented in the country's

    government. Simeon called the deal "a very important

    agreement." Saxecoburggotski and Dogan pledged to combat

    crime and corruption, maintain a stable and more prosperous

    economy, and continue Sofia's efforts to enter the EU and

    NATO. The government will have 141 seats in the 240-member

    parliament, the largest majority for a government since 1990.

    Ethnic Turks make up some 10 percent of the country's 8

    million people. PB

    [25] ...UNVEILS HIS CABINET

    Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov

    signed a decree on 22 July directing the National Assembly to

    vote on the candidacy of Premier-designate Saxecoburggotski

    and his proposed government, BTA reported. The vote is

    expected to be taken on 24 July. Most significant among the

    appointments is 31-year-old Nikolai Vassilev, who was named

    deputy premier and economy minister. Vassilev, who is

    Western-educated and known as an expert in analyzing emerging

    markets, said: "With a flying start, we will continue

    privatization, reform the financial sector, and attract huge

    foreign investment." Milen Velchev, 35, was named finance

    minister. He is considered an expert in restructuring

    external debt and previously worked for Merrill Lynch in

    London. Solomon Passi was designated foreign minister. He is

    chairman of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, an NGO lobbying

    for Sofia's entry into NATO. The other deputy premiers are

    Kostadin Paskalev, the Socialist (BSP) mayor of Blagoevgrad

    who is also minister of regional development and public

    works; and Lidia Shuleva, the minister of labor and social

    policy. Ethnic Turkish nominees -- the first since the end of

    communist rule -- are Mehmed Dikme as agriculture minister

    and Nedjet Mollov of the Emergencies Ministry. PB

    [26] BULGARIA'S SOCIALISTS TO ABSTAIN FROM VOTE ON PREMIER

    Georgi

    Purvanov, the head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and

    leader of the leftist Coalition for Bulgaria, said on 22 July

    that his parliamentary group will abstain from the vote on

    the new cabinet set for 24 July, BTA reported. Purvanov's

    statement was made after the announcement by Premier-

    designate Saxecoburggotski that his cabinet will include two

    members of the BSP, Blagoevgrad Mayor Paskalev and Dimitar

    Kalchev, who was designated minister of state administration.

    Purvanov said the two will remain "loyal to the political

    force that named them candidates and supported them in the

    local elections." He said their inclusion by Saxecoburggotski

    in the cabinet is indicative of their own qualities as well

    as "the governance potential of the Left." PB

    [27] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT THANKS KOSTOV

    President Stoyanov met

    with outgoing Premier Ivan Kostov on 23 July and thanked him

    for the work of his government over the last four years, BTA

    reported. Stoyanov said the government under the United

    Democratic Forces allowed Bulgaria to "regain its image and

    prestige as a partner" in the democratic world. He said he

    told Kostov that, "thanks to your successes, it will be much

    easier for the new government to do its job." Kostov declined

    to make a statement or to address the media after the

    meeting. PB


    [C] END NOTE

    [28] There is no end note today.

    23-07-01

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


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