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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 186, 01-10-02

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. 186, 2 October 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS
  • [02] NO ARRESTS IN DEATH OF ARMENIAN ACTIVIST
  • [03] POLICE FORCIBLY DISPERSE OPPOSITION RALLY IN AZERBAIJANI EXCLAVE
  • [04] INDEPENDENT AZERBAIJANI TV STATION ACCUSED OF TRANSMITTING ILLEGALLY
  • [05] AZERBAIJAN'S SENIOR MUSLIM CLERIC DENIES ISSUING COUP WARNING
  • [06] GEORGIA OPENS AIRSPACE TO U.S.
  • [07] NEW GEORGIAN JUSTICE MINISTER APPOINTED
  • [08] UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WRAPS UP VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN
  • [09] U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE TELEPHONES KYRGYZ PRESIDENT
  • [10] KYRGYZSTAN, IMF REACH AGREEMENT ON NEW LOAN PROGRAM
  • [11] KYRGYZ PARTY TO ABANDON 'CONSTRUCTIVE OPPOSITION'
  • [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT NAMES NEW AMBASSADORS TO RUSSIA, IRAN, GERMANY
  • [13] UZBEKISTAN OFFERS USE OF AIRSPACE TO U.S.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] MACEDONIAN PEACE PLAN THREATENED BY MISSING PERSONS
  • [15] NATO CONDEMNS REBEL ATTACKS ON MACEDONIAN POLICE
  • [16] OSCE ANNOUNCES FOURFOLD INCREASE IN MONITORS FOR MACEDONIA
  • [17] NATO TROOPS ARREST FOUR IN BOSNIAN ANTITERRORIST EFFORT
  • [18] 'CROATIAN-LANGUAGE' DAILY HITS BOSNIAN NEWSSTANDS
  • [19] NEW CROATIAN JUSTICE MINISTER INTENDS TO ESTABLISH WAR CRIMES BUREAU
  • [20] PRESIDENT CALLS FOR TALKS ON FUTURE OF YUGOSLAVIA
  • [21] KOSTUNICA PRAISES U.S. PRESIDENT
  • [22] REPORT SAYS SECURITY FOR MINORITIES IN KOSOVA IS IMPROVING
  • [23] IRANIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER IN ROMANIA
  • [24] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS POVERTY BREEDS EXTREMISM
  • [25] ROMANIAN HUNGARIAN LEADER ENVISAGES DIFFICULTY IN STATUS LAW IMPLEMENTATION
  • [26] ROMANIAN FAR-RIGHT LEADER CRITICIZES APPOINTMENT OF U.S. AMBASSADOR
  • [27] HAS RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DISSOLVED COMMISSION ON TRANSDNIESTER?
  • [28] BULGARIAN VISA REQUIREMENT FOR RUSSIAN CITIZENS COMES INTO EFFECT
  • [29] BULGARIAN LAND FORCES TO BE REDUCED BY A THIRD

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [30] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS

    Meeting with a group of visiting Russian journalists in Yerevan on 29 September, President Robert Kocharian said Armenian-Russian relations are "developing dynamically," and are characterized by a "convergence of interests" and by the absence of any disputed issues, ITAR-TASS and Noyan Tapan reported. Kocharian stressed that a pro-Russian orientation has been passed from generation to generation in Armenia, stressing that "there were and are no anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia." Asked why Armenia therefore does not accede to the Russia-Belarus Union, Kocharian pointed out that that union serves the interests of both member countries, but that Armenia does not share a common border with either. He added that no Armenian political party except for the Communists supports Armenian membership of the union. Commenting on the unresolved Karabakh conflict, Kocharian said the two most immediate problems that need to be solved are convincing public opinion in Azerbaijan of the need for compromise, and for the presidents of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to accept the responsibility of implementing a peace settlement that will require compromises from both sides. LF

    [02] NO ARRESTS IN DEATH OF ARMENIAN ACTIVIST

    None of the members of President Kocharian's bodyguard who were suspended from duty last week has yet been formally charged in connection with the death in a Yerevan cafe in the early morning of 25 September of an Armenian from Georgia who had shouted insults at the president, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 September 2001). Armenian Revolutionary Federation -- Dashnaktsutiun (HHD) party member Poghos Poghosian was found dead with head and stomach injuries in the cafe toilet shortly after Kocharian left the premises. Law enforcement officials initially said Poghosian, who was 43, died of heart failure. Justice Minister David Harutiunian, who was also present at the cafe that night, told journalists on 27 September that "a most serious and impartial investigation must be conducted" and that "we cannot hush anything up," Noyan Tapan reported. LF

    [03] POLICE FORCIBLY DISPERSE OPPOSITION RALLY IN AZERBAIJANI EXCLAVE

    Police in Nakhichevan on 29 September used violence to break up an unsanctioned demonstration against the Azerbaijani leadership by members of the opposition Democratic Party, Turan reported. Two demonstrators were injured and 21 detained for 15 days administrative arrest. LF

    [04] INDEPENDENT AZERBAIJANI TV STATION ACCUSED OF TRANSMITTING ILLEGALLY

    Azerbaijan's State Radio Frequencies Committee has accused the independent ANS-TV of beginning broadcasts to seven rural regions without having sought permission from the committee to do so, Turan reported on 1 October. The committee has assessed ANS-TV's debts for the unauthorized use of transmitters at 354.9 million manats ($75,750), of which 141 million manats must be paid to the state budget. LF

    [05] AZERBAIJAN'S SENIOR MUSLIM CLERIC DENIES ISSUING COUP WARNING

    Sheikh-ul-Islam Allakhshukur Pashazade told Turan on 1 October that a report published that day in the opposition newspaper "Yeni Musavat" that he had warned President Heidar Aliev that Iranian intelligence is planning a coup d'etat in Azerbaijan is incorrect. Pashazade also denied that any connection exists between that alleged warning and recent arrests of Muslim clerics in southern districts of Azerbaijan. This is by no means the first instance of "Yeni Musavat" publishing sensational allegations that later proved to be untrue: on 28 July Turan quoted that paper as reporting that President Aliev had died. LF

    [06] GEORGIA OPENS AIRSPACE TO U.S.

    The Georgian government has acceded to a U.S. request for cargo planes to transit Georgian airspace within the parameters of the expected antiterrorist strikes against targets in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told journalists on 1 October, according to Caucasus Press. LF

    [07] NEW GEORGIAN JUSTICE MINISTER APPOINTED

    The Georgian parliament on 28 September confirmed Roland Giligashvili as justice minister, Caucasus Press reported. Giligashvili is 49 and has worked since graduating from Tbilisi State University in 1974 in the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor-General's Office, and from 1997-1999 as deputy justice minister. He succeeds Mikhail Saakashvili, who resigned last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 September 2001). LF

    [08] UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WRAPS UP VISIT TO KAZAKHSTAN

    Leonid Kuchma ended his three-day visit to Astana on 28 September during which he and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbaev focused on expanding economic cooperation and trade, Russian agencies reported. Specifically, the two sides declared their readiness to participate, with Russia, in implementing the Dnepr space program, and agreed on the creation of a joint venture with Russia to extract and process uranium for use as nuclear fuel, ITAR-TASS and "Vek" reported. Also discussed was the possibility of increasing from the present level of 6 million tons exports of Kazakh oil to Ukraine for refining. LF

    [09] U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE TELEPHONES KYRGYZ PRESIDENT

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev discussed the security situation in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia as a whole in a telephone conversation on 30 September, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported the following day, quoting the presidential press service. Powell thanked Akaev for his offer of support for the international antiterrorism coalition. Akaev announced on 25 September that Kyrgyzstan would open an air corridor for U.S. aircraft in the event of strikes on terrorist targets in Afghanistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 September 2001). LF

    [10] KYRGYZSTAN, IMF REACH AGREEMENT ON NEW LOAN PROGRAM

    The IMF's representation in Bishkek announced on 1 October that following talks two days earlier between visiting IMF official Tapio Savolainen, President Akaev, and Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev, agreement has been reached on a new three-year cooperation program, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Kyrgyzstan could receive up to $90 million in new loans within the framework of that agreement, which was delayed due to the fund's displeasure at Akaev's unilateral decision in July to cut income tax rates (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July and 21 September 2001). LF

    [11] KYRGYZ PARTY TO ABANDON 'CONSTRUCTIVE OPPOSITION'

    Speaking at a press conference in Bishkek on 1 October to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of his Progressive Erkin Kyrgyzstan party, Tursunbai Bakir Uulu said that his party will shortly abandon its policy of constructive opposition and assume a tougher stance vis-a-vis the present leadership, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. He said that decision was prompted by the "many mistakes" the government has made and by its refusal to engage in a dialogue with the opposition. LF

    [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT NAMES NEW AMBASSADORS TO RUSSIA, IRAN, GERMANY

    President Imomali Rakhmonov has appointed the head of the presidential administration, Safar Safarov, as Tajikistan's ambassador to Russia, Ramazan Mirzoev as ambassador to Iran, and former presidential administration official Nurali Saidov as ambassador to Germany, Asia Plus- Blitz reported on 2 October. Shuhrat Sultonov, who previously served as deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the CIS secretariat, succeeds Safarov as head of the presidential administration. LF

    [13] UZBEKISTAN OFFERS USE OF AIRSPACE TO U.S.

    Branding terrorism as "the plague of the 21st century, Uzbek President Islam Karimov told a meeting of senior Uzbek security officials on 1 October that his country "is ready to make its airspace available" for participating military aircraft in the event of strikes against terrorist bases in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. Last week Uzbek officials repeatedly denied persistent rumors that U.S. transport planes and troops had already landed at a military airport near Tashkent (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 and 25 September 2001). LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] MACEDONIAN PEACE PLAN THREATENED BY MISSING PERSONS

    The speaker of the Macedonian parliament, Stojan Andov, said on 1 October that ethnic Albanian rebels must resolve the issue of 14 missing Macedonians before parliamentarians will pass any provisions of the peace plan, Reuters reported. Speaking after meeting with relatives of the missing, Andov said, "I will be compelled not to convene the national assembly...as long as the civilians are kept hostage." The 14 civilians -- who include one ethnic Albanian -- disappeared as fighting raged around the city of Tetovo in July. Parliament is due to meet on 5 October to discuss expanding the rights of ethnic Albanians. Former rebel leader Ali Ahmeti, at a meeting last week announcing that the National Liberation Army had disbanded, said all prisoners had been released. A spokeswoman for the Red Cross said it has no information on the missing people. PB

    [15] NATO CONDEMNS REBEL ATTACKS ON MACEDONIAN POLICE

    Major Tim Dunne, a spokesman for Amber Fox, the new NATO mission in Macedonia, said on 1 October in Skopje that attacks by ethnic Albanian insurgents on police checkpoints in Macedonia are "unacceptable," dpa reported. Dunne said the attackers fired some 20 rounds of ammunition on checkpoints outside of Tetovo the previous day and that Macedonian police returned fire. He said NATO strongly condemns "attacks on police positions." Both sides blamed the other for starting the attacks (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2001). PB

    [16] OSCE ANNOUNCES FOURFOLD INCREASE IN MONITORS FOR MACEDONIA

    The OSCE said on 1 October in Skopje that it will quadruple the size of its mission that will monitor implementation of the peace accord in Macedonia, Reuters reported. Harald Schenker, the OSCE spokesman for the former Yugoslavia, said the initial crew of 51 monitors will be expanded to 210 in an agreement between the OSCE and the Macedonian government. Many of the new monitors will train ethnic Albanians in policing methods, as some 500 Albanians are due to be added to the Macedonian police force by mid-2002. PB

    [17] NATO TROOPS ARREST FOUR IN BOSNIAN ANTITERRORIST EFFORT

    The NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Herzegovina said on 1 October that it has arrested four people in Sarajevo on the suspicion of having links with terrorists, Reuters and Hina news agencies reported. A Stabilization Force (SFOR) statement said the arrests were conducted in line with the SFOR mandate and in cooperation with local authorities, the agencies reported. The SFOR authorities did not reveal the identities of those detained, but Bosnian state television reported that two were foreigners and two were Bosnian citizens. Local media reported that one man was Egyptian and another Lebanese with German residency. Bosnia last week launched a plan to combat terrorism domestically and internationally, in response to the 11 September terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Reuters added. AH

    [18] 'CROATIAN-LANGUAGE' DAILY HITS BOSNIAN NEWSSTANDS

    Bosnia-Herzegovina's first "Croatian-language" daily hit newsstands on 1 October, with the stated aim of offering readers complete and reliable coverage of "what is going on in the country and the world," Hina reported the same day. "Dnevni List" will appear six days a week with a double issue on Saturdays, the agency added. It is published by Mostar-based National Holding. The paper is printed in Banja Luka and has an initial print run of 7,500 copies to be sold throughout Bosnia, Hina reported. AH

    [19] NEW CROATIAN JUSTICE MINISTER INTENDS TO ESTABLISH WAR CRIMES BUREAU

    Newly appointed Justice Minister Ingrid Anticevic-Marinovic told a press conference on 1 October that her priorities in restoring confidence in the country's judiciary include amending civil and criminal laws, Hina reported. She also said her country plans to establish a war crimes bureau to speed up evidence-gathering and local trials involving cases that date back to World War II, Reuters reported. Anticevic-Marinovic said a law is being drafted to set up the office, whose work will include collecting evidence, preparing cases, and helping track down suspects. In the past two months Croatian police have arrested more than a dozen people, mostly former soldiers or policemen, suspected of involvement in violent crimes against ethnic Serbs. Outgoing Justice Minister Stjepan Ivanisevic, who recently resigned amid speculation that he was unhappy about government policies on cooperation with The Hague-based war crimes tribunal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 June 2001), said the aim is "to improve cooperation with The Hague tribunal and coordination among all those dealing with war crimes in the local judiciary," Reuters reported. The current state bureau liaising with the tribunal will be incorporated into the new body, Ivanisevic added. AH

    [20] PRESIDENT CALLS FOR TALKS ON FUTURE OF YUGOSLAVIA

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said on 1 October in Belgrade that there should be no preconditions before resuming talks with Podgorica on the future of the federation, AP reported. Kostunica, who suspended talks last week, seemed to soften his earlier condition that Montenegrin independence could only be attained in a referendum. But he also warned: "The federal constitution envisages repressive mechanisms in case one of Yugoslavia's two constituent republics is acting in a destructive manner... But I'm thinking of peaceful, political means." Kostunica called off the talks after Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic refused to attend the opening round in Belgrade because of Kostunica's insistence on including Yugoslav Premier Dragisa Pesic, who is an opposition politician in Montenegro. Kostunica said on 1 October that a representative of federal Yugoslavia must be present for the negotiations, but said he wouldn't insist that it be Pesic. PB

    [21] KOSTUNICA PRAISES U.S. PRESIDENT

    Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said in Belgrade on 1 October that he is "impressed" by George W. Bush's cautious handling of the situation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., AP reported. Kostunica, a frequent critic of U.S. policy, said that "it is very, very encouraging that the reactions of the U.S. administration and especially President Bush toward that big evil were measured and right." Kostunica also called for a "clear" definition of terrorism by the international community. PB

    [22] REPORT SAYS SECURITY FOR MINORITIES IN KOSOVA IS IMPROVING

    Daan Everts, the head of the OSCE mission in Kosova, said in a report released on 1 October that the southern Serbian province is becoming more secure, AP reported. Everts said that over the past six months, there has been "an improvement with regard to the overall security situation." The report was conducted by the OSCE and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and monitored the situation of several minority groups living in Kosova. The report said, however, that freedom of movement is still the greatest concern for minorities. Lennart Kotslainen, chief of the UNHCR mission in Kosova, said that minorities "don't have the freedom of movement as other citizens in Kosovo. They can't go to the hospital as they wish to and they sometimes cannot access the municipal office without putting their safety at risk." PB

    [23] IRANIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER IN ROMANIA

    Visiting Iranian parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karubi told Chamber of Deputies Chairman Valer Dorneanu on 1 October that his country backs international action against terrorism, but cannot agree to an armed attack on Afghanistan, Romanian television reported. Karubi said that the U.S. must be "very careful" to avoid turning its envisaged antiterrorist action into "an attack against nations and other civilizations." He said any action in Afghanistan must take place under the auspices of the United Nations. Dorneanu told his guest that he agrees that international organizations should be involved in the struggle against terrorism but added that the U.S. "has every right to respond" after having been directly attacked. He stressed that Romania is a "de facto NATO ally" and will participate within its own means in any action against terrorism. MS

    [24] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS POVERTY BREEDS EXTREMISM

    During his visit to Bihor County on 1 October, President Iliescu warned that the growing discrepancy between rich and poor countries is "one of the most dangerous sources of international conflict and tension," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau quoted him as saying. Iliescu said that the gap between rich and poor states "breeds extremism and religious fanaticism" and said international stability cannot be restored without eliminating poverty. He said he backs a radical reform of institutions and international organizations that regulate the world economy. MS

    [25] ROMANIAN HUNGARIAN LEADER ENVISAGES DIFFICULTY IN STATUS LAW IMPLEMENTATION

    Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) Chairman Bela Marko, in an interview with MTI on 1 October, said the Status Law approved by the Hungarian parliament "will be difficult to implement" if the Romanian government cannot be persuaded to modify its opposition to the law, Mediafax reported. Marko said, "Reaching a compromise takes a long time," and without that it will be very difficult to implement the law in Romania proper. Marko added that the UDMR is prepared to help reach a compromise. He also said the UDMR is technically able to contribute in the implementation of the law if an understanding is reached between the two governments, and that discussions are underway with representatives of the Hungarian churches in Transylvania to develop a unified position between the churches and the UDMR regarding the law's implementation. MS

    [26] ROMANIAN FAR-RIGHT LEADER CRITICIZES APPOINTMENT OF U.S. AMBASSADOR

    Ion Coja, the deputy chairman of the Romanian Cradle organization and one of the most extremist political personalities in Romania, criticized the appointment of Michael Guest as U.S. ambassador to Romania, calling it a "misfortunate idea, provoking stupor, indignation, and disgust among Romanians," AP reported. In a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, Congress, and the Senate that was published in the daily "Ziua" on 30 October, Coja wrote that Guest's open homosexuality is an affront to Romanian tradition and mentality "which put duty and obligation above everything else" and added that the "supreme duty of any living person is to procreate." This is not the first time Coja has criticized the appointment of a U.S. ambassador. In 1994 he was among the signatories of a letter protesting the appointment of Alfred Moses, in what was largely perceived to be an anti-Semitic gesture. Coja is also a foremost Holocaust denier and a fierce anti-Hungarian nationalist. MS

    [27] HAS RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DISSOLVED COMMISSION ON TRANSDNIESTER?

    Grigorii Marakutsa, the chairman of the Transdniester Supreme Soviet, told the Moscow daily "Izvestiya" on 1 October that Vladimir Putin has disbanded the Russian State Commission for the Solution of the Transdniester Conflict headed by Yevgenii Primakov, Infotag reported. Marakutsa said that a presidential decree on the dissolution has already been signed as a result of the commission's failure to meet its task. Marakutsa claimed that Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin lobbied for the measure because he believes Primakov held too many meetings with separatist leader Igor Smirnov. Marakutsa said the draft proposed by Primakov for solving the conflict "can serve as basis for further work." On 1 October, a Russian Foreign Ministry delegation headed by First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov arrived in Chisinau for talks with the Moldovan leadership. MS

    [28] BULGARIAN VISA REQUIREMENT FOR RUSSIAN CITIZENS COMES INTO EFFECT

    As of 1 October, Russian citizens traveling to Bulgaria are required to have an entry visa, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Bulgarian Ambassador to Russia Ilian Vasilev told the agency that the Bulgarian government pledged to introduce the visa requirement when the EU lifted its requirement for visas from Bulgarian citizens in March. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it regrets the imposition of "additional barriers" to relations between the citizens of the two countries and said it will introduce a reciprocal visa requirement. MS

    [29] BULGARIAN LAND FORCES TO BE REDUCED BY A THIRD

    Bulgaria will reduce its 12,000-strong land forces by 30 percent by 2004, Land Forces Chief of Staff General Kiril Tsvetkov said on 1 October. He said the land forces will be divided into deployment forces and homeland defense forces, BTA reported. Tsvetkov said some 20 percent of the forces' strength will be transferred to the reserve brigade commands, which will be in charge of guarding equipment and supplies. Tsvetkov said that this year some 60 units will be reorganized into peacetime and wartime units, 70 units will be fully disbanded, and 30 new units will be formed. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [30] There is no End Note today.

    02-10-01

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


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