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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 197, 01-10-17

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From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 5, No. 197, 17 October 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTING SUSPECT WANTS CHARGES AGAINST HIM DROPPED
  • [02] RUSSIA FAILS TO MAKE GOOD ON THREAT TO SUSPEND GAS SUPPLIES TO ARMENIA
  • [03] ARMENIA, CHINA AGREE ON CHEMICAL JV
  • [04] AZERBAIJANI SECURITY MINISTER DETAILS AVERTED CATASTROPHES
  • [05] PRESIDENT SAYS AZERBAIJAN'S CASPIAN OIL COULD BE EXPORTED VIA UKRAINE
  • [06] U.S. WANTS RESTRICTIONS ON AID TO AZERBAIJAN LIFTED
  • [07] AZERBAIJANI PROSECUTOR DEMANDS 11-YEAR SENTENCE FOR MILITARY CORRUPTION WHISTLE-BLOWER
  • [08] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT TELEPHONES RUSSIAN COUNTERPART...
  • [09] ... SUGGESTS ALTERNATIVE TO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING FORCE
  • [10] GEORGIA REPORTS ANOTHER VIOLATION OF ITS AIRSPACE...
  • [11] ...AS INTRUDERS RETREAT FROM KODORI GORGE
  • [12] ABKHAZ PRESIDENT VOWS TO DESTROY INTRUDING FORCE
  • [13] SOUTH OSSETIA APPEALS TO RUSSIA TO ENSURE SECURITY IN CAUCASUS
  • [14] KAZAKHSTAN INCREASES PRODUCTION OF GOLD, SOME NONFERROUS METALS
  • [15] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [16] PRESSURE ON MACEDONIAN LEGISLATORS INCREASES AS REFERENDUM VOTE POSTPONED...
  • [17] ...WHILE POLICE TO RETURN TO REBEL-HELD AREAS SLOWLY, WITH MONITORS
  • [18] MACEDONIAN TROOPS ACCUSED OF RANSACKING SKI RESORT
  • [19] MOB DESTROYS EU MONITORS' CAR
  • [20] YUGOSLAV TYCOON TO RETURN FROM HIDING, DESPITE CONTINUING PROBES
  • [21] BOSNIAN OFFICIAL SAYS NO EVIDENCE OF AL-QAEDA TIES
  • [22] 'CREDIBLE THREAT' SHUTS DOWN U.S. EMBASSY IN SARAJEVO
  • [23] BOSNIAN-CROATIAN JOURNALISTS ORGANIZATION CONDEMNS ATTACK ON REPORTER
  • [24] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE DENIES REPORTS ON NUCLEAR TRAFFICKING
  • [25] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES ANY INTENTION TO ISOLATE ROMA
  • [26] BULGARIAN PREMIER SAYS GOVERNMENT WILL ENCOURAGE FOREIGN INVESTMENT
  • [27] BULGARIAN REACTOR SWITCHED OFF

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [28] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTING SUSPECT WANTS CHARGES AGAINST HIM DROPPED

    Nairi Hunanian, the leader of the five gunmen who shot down eight senior Armenian politicians in the parliament building in October 1999, issued a statement in Yerevan on 15 October arguing that the charges against him and his codefendants should be dropped since they resorted to bloodshed as "a last resort," given that "the sovereignty of Armenia was threatened" as a result of "the illegal activities" of the country's leadership, Noyan Tapan reported on 16 October. LF

    [02] RUSSIA FAILS TO MAKE GOOD ON THREAT TO SUSPEND GAS SUPPLIES TO ARMENIA

    The Gazprom subsidiary ITERA failed on 16 October to act on its threat made the previous day to cut gas supplies to Armenia because of that country's alleged failure to pay its outstanding $37 million debt for earlier deliveries, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. A spokeswoman for Armrosgazprom, which controls Armenia's entire gas infrastructure, said ITERA had decided to delay any action "for the time being." Armenian Energy Minister Karen Galustian said in late June that Gazprom had written off Armenia's gas debt under a debt swap deal (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 June 2001). LF

    [03] ARMENIA, CHINA AGREE ON CHEMICAL JV

    Armenian and Chinese officials signed an agreement on 12 October under which Armenia's Nairit chemical plant and a company in Shansi province will create a joint venture to produce some 30,000-35,000 tons of synthetic rubber annually, Noyan Tapan reported on 17 October. According to Armenia's first deputy minister of industry and trade, Ashot Shahnazarian, Armenia will invest $14 million in construction of the plant and expects to make an annual profit from the undertaking of $4-6 million. LF

    [04] AZERBAIJANI SECURITY MINISTER DETAILS AVERTED CATASTROPHES

    Speaking on national television on 16 October, National Security Minister Namig Abbasov said that his ministry averted a planned assassination attempt against Russian President Vladimir Putin during the latter's visit to Baku in January, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. Abbasov said that the Azerbaijani authorities got wind of those plans, which were masterminded by Iraqi citizen Kenan Rostam, during the autumn of 2000. Rostam has been arrested, tried, and sentenced. Abbasov also warned that a new attempt to overthrow the Azerbaijani leadership may be imminent, but gave no details. He said foreign intelligence services have recruited 213 Azerbaijani citizens in recent years, of whom 186 were dissuaded by "preventive measures" from any criminal action. LF

    [05] PRESIDENT SAYS AZERBAIJAN'S CASPIAN OIL COULD BE EXPORTED VIA UKRAINE

    Meeting on 16 October with visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko, Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev said an unspecified amount of the oil Azerbaijan exports via the Baku-Supsa pipeline could be transported by tanker to Odesa and then exported to Western Europe via the planned Odesa-Brody pipeline, Interfax reported. LF

    [06] U.S. WANTS RESTRICTIONS ON AID TO AZERBAIJAN LIFTED

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote on 16 October to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman urging that Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which bans direct U.S. government aid to Azerbaijan until that country lifts its blockade of Armenia, be lifted in acknowledgement of intelligence information passed to Washington and of Azerbaijan's willingness to make available its airspace for use during the U.S.-led antiterrorism campaign, Reuters reported on 16 October. Armenian President Robert Kocharian wrote last week to U.S. President George W. Bush asking him not to lift Section 907 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 October 2001). LF

    [07] AZERBAIJANI PROSECUTOR DEMANDS 11-YEAR SENTENCE FOR MILITARY CORRUPTION WHISTLE-BLOWER

    Prosecutor Elsevar Abdullaev demanded on 16 October that former naval Captain Djanmirza Mirzoev be sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for his alleged role in the April 1993 murder of the director of the Baku Naval College, Eduard Huseinov, Turan reported. Abdullaev also asked the court to base its verdict not on evidence given during Mirzoev's trial by his codefendant Aliyusif Tairov, but on Tairov's testimony during the pretrial investigation. Tairov said during that investigation that he had overheard conversations between Mirzoev and former Interior Ministry special troops commander Rovshan Djavadov that led him to believe that the two men were planning to murder Huseinov, but retracted that testimony during the trial. Mirzoev has been repeatedly detained and harassed in recent years for his efforts to publicize corruption within the Defense Ministry. He was arrested and charged with Huseinov's murder in November 2000 (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No. 34, 26 August 1999 and "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 December 2000). LF

    [08] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT TELEPHONES RUSSIAN COUNTERPART...

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin on 16 October to discuss bilateral relations, including the framework agreement on bilateral relations currently being drafted, Caucasus Press and Russian agencies reported. The two presidents agreed that their respective countries should cooperate more closely in the fight against terrorism and to resolve the crisis in Abkhazia, Reuters reported. LF

    [09] ... SUGGESTS ALTERNATIVE TO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING FORCE

    Shevardnadze told visiting ambassadors to the OSCE from 18 states in Tbilisi on 16 October that he has written to President Putin to thank him for the contribution made since 1994 by the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis along the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, Caucasus Pres and ITAR-TASS reported. But at the same time Shevardnadze noted that the force "failed to achieve its primary objective." He therefore proposed replacing the CIS force with a multilateral one in which Russian officers would also serve. Also on 16 October, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Zlenko repeated in Baku the offer that Ukrainian officials have made repeatedly since 1997 to provide a peacekeeping contingent to serve in Abkhazia under the aegis of either the UN or the OSCE, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 1997 and 30 June 1999). Shevardnadze noted that Ukraine and other unnamed states have offered to send peacekeepers to Abkhazia, but no international organization has yet offered to sponsor such a force. LF

    [10] GEORGIA REPORTS ANOTHER VIOLATION OF ITS AIRSPACE...

    The Georgian Defense Ministry confirmed on 17 October reports by parliament deputy Iveri Chelidze that six MiG helicopters bombed Georgian villages in the Kodori gorge that morning, Caucasus Press reported. Two hours later, two Russian Su-25 fighter aircraft entered Georgian airspace from Russia but did not undertake any hostile action. LF

    [11] ...AS INTRUDERS RETREAT FROM KODORI GORGE

    Abkhaz Defense Ministry officials said in Sukhum on 16 October that sporadic exchanges of fire continued throughout the day between Abkhaz troops and small groups from the combined Chechen/Georgian guerrilla force retreating from Sugar-Loaf mountain toward the Georgian-Russian frontier. But pursuit is difficult as the band is laying mines as they retreat, ITAR- TASS quoted Deputy Defense Minister Garri Kupalba as saying. LF

    [12] ABKHAZ PRESIDENT VOWS TO DESTROY INTRUDING FORCE

    Speaking on Abkhaz television on 16 October, President Vladislav Ardzinba predicted that the Abkhaz armed forces will continue to push back the invading force and will "tear it to shreds as a dog does a rag," Reuters and Caucasus Press reported. He accused Tbilisi of resorting to "aggression" against Abkhazia by co-opting "terrorists," in violation of a pledge made when Georgia was accepted into full membership of the Council of Europe to resolve the conflict with Abkhazia by peaceful means. Ardzinba again rejected Georgia's offer to grant Abkhazia "the broadest conceivable autonomy," saying that "we will not take the bait." Ardzinba also acknowledged that rumors he has been suffering from an unidentified illness are true, admitting that "the war and the post-war years have taken their toll." LF

    [13] SOUTH OSSETIA APPEALS TO RUSSIA TO ENSURE SECURITY IN CAUCASUS

    Lyudvig Chibirov, president of the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia, which like Abkhazia considers Georgia's offers of broad autonomy unacceptable, has appealed to Russian President Putin and State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev to provide security in the Caucasus in light of the ongoing fighting in Abkhazia, Caucasus Press reported. LF

    [14] KAZAKHSTAN INCREASES PRODUCTION OF GOLD, SOME NONFERROUS METALS

    Gold production in Kazakhstan during the first nine months of 2001 amounted to 11.88 tons [refined weight], which is a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, Interfax reported on 16 October quoting Kazakhstan's National Statistics Agency. Production of magnesium and magnesium products increased 59 percent year-on-year; titanium, 88 percent; and unprocessed beryllium, 78 percent; while unprocessed lead production fell by 18 percent and unprocessed cadmium by 35 percent. LF

    [15] KYRGYZ PRESIDENT ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT

    In his annual address to both chambers of parliament, President Askar Akaev singled out as his leadership's most outstanding achievement preserving political and interethnic stability, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. He predicted GDP growth of 5.6 percent in 2001 and around 7 percent for 2002- 2004, and praised the comprehensive 10-year program of economic development adopted, despite opposition criticism, in May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 May 2001). Focusing on the U.S.-led antiterrorism campaign, Akaev pointed out that military actions alone are powerless against terrorism unless a simultaneous effort is made to eradicate the social deprivation and poverty that fuel terrorism and extremism. He said a special commission will be created, to be chaired by Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev, to address the inevitable negative impact on Kyrgyzstan's economy of the crisis in Afghanistan. Echoing statements made by Kyrgyz officials last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 October 2001), he also said that Bishkek will need international financial aid to cope with the anticipated influx of refugees from Afghanistan. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [16] PRESSURE ON MACEDONIAN LEGISLATORS INCREASES AS REFERENDUM VOTE POSTPONED...

    Despite an expression of support from Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, the Macedonian parliament postponed a vote on a controversial referendum as Western pressure mounts to make progress on stalled reforms agreed two months ago, Western news agencies reported on 16 October. "There are so many reasons in favor of voting for a referendum," Georgievski said. "A referendum should...be thought of as something that can resolve Macedonia's future for the next 100 years." Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson are due to arrive in Skopje on 18 October to try and revive the peace process, which has been stalled by the parliament's inability to even discuss constitutional amendments agreed in Ohrid on 13 August. DW

    [17] ...WHILE POLICE TO RETURN TO REBEL-HELD AREAS SLOWLY, WITH MONITORS

    Macedonian security forces will begin to move into areas held by ethnic Albanian rebels on 18 October in ethnically mixed patrols of plainclothes officers accompanied by EU and OSCE monitors, Reuters and dpa reported on 16 October. Government sources said that the initial phase of the redeployment is planned for eight low-risk villages with ethnically mixed populations in the areas of Tetovo, Skopje, and Kumanovo. Also, about 1,000 ethnic Albanian cadets were expected to return to U.S.-sponsored police training on 17 October after abandoning it last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline, " 10 October 2001) due to harassment by Macedonian reservists. Authorities agreed to remove the reservists under Western pressure, AP reported on 16 October. DW

    [18] MACEDONIAN TROOPS ACCUSED OF RANSACKING SKI RESORT

    Interior and Defense ministry officials are investigating accusations that Macedonian troops stationed at the village of Popova Sapka during fighting with rebel forces ransacked and vandalized more than 100 homes belonging to ethnic Macedonians, Reuters reported on 17 October. The damage was discovered when refugees were escorted back to the area for the first time by NATO troops and international monitors on 14 October. "I was shocked because this was done by my own kind, by the same people that were meant to defend my home," said the owner of one demolished house. An Interior Ministry spokesman said: "In this case we won't just make a promise to act. All measures will be taken to punish those responsible." DW

    [19] MOB DESTROYS EU MONITORS' CAR

    Macedonian police were called in to save EU monitors from an angry crowd of displaced people in Kumanovo on 17 October, which then destroyed the monitors' vehicle, dpa reported. The mob was made up of ethnic Macedonians and Serbs driven from their village of Matejce six months earlier, a police source said. The people were expecting to visit their homes, but were turned back after it was reported that 50 fighters of the formally disbanded National Liberation Army (UCK) were still there. DW

    [20] YUGOSLAV TYCOON TO RETURN FROM HIDING, DESPITE CONTINUING PROBES

    Bogoljub Karic said on 16 October, one day after he and his family fled Yugoslavia fearing for their safety, that he will return to the country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October 2001), Reuters reported. Karic said in a statement that he spoke with Serbian authorities who "convinced me that that I can safely return to the country and that all necessary protective measures will be taken." Meanwhile, investigations into the Karic family businesses continued. Radio B92 reported that the Belgrade public Prosecutor's Office has begun a criminal investigation into the business dealings of the Karic family and has requested that police and the Yugoslav National Bank cooperate in questioning relevant persons and gathering information on the Karics' BK Group. DW

    [21] BOSNIAN OFFICIAL SAYS NO EVIDENCE OF AL-QAEDA TIES

    Bosnia's deputy foreign minister, Ivica Misic, said a recent spate of arrests in his country has produced no evidence linking detainees with suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, Reuters reported on 16 October. Nearly all of those detained on suspicion of links to "terrorism" have been either released or deported, though one man of Yemeni or Algerian origin taken into custody a week ago remains in detention on charges of falsifying documents in an effort to obtain Bosnian citizenship. Deputy Minister Misic said, "No, no, and no," when asked whether any cases involving Bosnians or foreigners had unearthed evidence of ties to bin Laden or his Al-Qaeda network. Senior Bosnian leaders have been battling a barrage of unconfirmed reports alleging favors granted to mujahiden fighters and possibly individuals with links to Al-Qaeda or the September terrorist attacks on the United States. Longtime political leader Alija Izetbegovic has blamed Serb and Croat hard-liners for the reports, alleging an effort to exploit world anger over terrorism to destroy Bosnia. AH

    [22] 'CREDIBLE THREAT' SHUTS DOWN U.S. EMBASSY IN SARAJEVO

    American officials on 17 October shut down the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and two other satellite offices in Mostar and Banja Luka, following what an unnamed official called "a credible threat," AP reported. The facilities will remain closed until further notice, the agency added. AH

    [23] BOSNIAN-CROATIAN JOURNALISTS ORGANIZATION CONDEMNS ATTACK ON REPORTER

    The Bosnian Croatian Journalists Association has strongly condemned a 15 October attack on a reporter, allegedly by Ivica Artmagic, a former leader of the Mostar branch of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HDZ) party, Hina reported on 16 October. The group urged the appropriate authorities to punish the assailant, who physically assaulted Boro Jelic, a reporter for the Usora radio station and a correspondent for the Croatian daily "Slobodna Dalmacija," the agency added. A source at Jelic's radio station said Artmagic had previously threatened the station's workers as they reported local police statements regarding Artmagic's activities. AH

    [24] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE DENIES REPORTS ON NUCLEAR TRAFFICKING

    Media reports claiming that Romania's territory is being used for the purpose of smuggling nuclear materials are attempts to discredit the country's international image, Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) spokesman Marius Bercaru told Mediafax on 16 October. Bercaru reacted to a report by the Moldovan BASA Press claiming that Interpol is investigating the trafficking of nuclear materials between the Transdniester and Bosnia via Romania. BASA Press attributed the reports to Italian media. It cited Paolo Sartori, the chief of Italian Interpol, as saying in an interview on national television that the investigation began after a group belonging to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization was uncovered in Bosnia. MS

    [25] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES ANY INTENTION TO ISOLATE ROMA

    Public Information Minister Vasile Dancu said on 16 October that the government has "no intention whatever" to isolate the country's Romany minority and will oppose any such intention on the part of local authorities, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Dancu said the Piatra- Neamt project provides for building apartments for 400 ethnic Romanians alongside 100 Roma and is by no means a project aimed at the "ghettoization" of the Romany population. He said declarations to that effect made by Piatra Neamt Mayor Ion Rotaru are "merely reflecting his personal electoral strategy," and added that if Rotaru moves to implement the isolation of the town's Romany minority, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, of which he is a member, will sanction the mayor. Mediafax reported that local authorities in Baia-Mare and Deva have announced similar plans to move their Romany population to town outskirts. MS

    [26] BULGARIAN PREMIER SAYS GOVERNMENT WILL ENCOURAGE FOREIGN INVESTMENT

    Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski told a forum on economic development in Southeastern Europe that his government will take new measures aimed at luring foreign investment to Bulgaria, AP and BTA reported on 16 October. The premier said new legislation encouraging foreign investment is about to be submitted to the parliament and the cabinet is discussing a new privatization law that guarantees both speed and transparency. He also said international accounting standards will be introduced in Bulgaria and the number of licenses needed for starting a business will be drastically reduced. Saxecoburggotski said fiscal stability will be guaranteed by a new $840 million standby agreement with the IMF, which he expects to be finalized by the end of 2001. MS

    [27] BULGARIAN REACTOR SWITCHED OFF

    A reactor at the Kozlodui nuclear power plant was switched off on 16 October because of a leak in its cooling system, AP reported. An official statement by the plant's management said the leak "is not related to, and has not influenced, nuclear and radiation safety." MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [28] There is no End Note today.

    17-10-01

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


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