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Voice of America, 99-12-10

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] EUROPEAN SUMMIT OVERNIGHTER (S ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)
  • [02] E-U SUMMIT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)
  • [03] E-U SUMMIT (S UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)
  • [04] E-U / TURKEY (S) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)
  • [05] E-U / CHECHNYA (S) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)
  • [06] YEARENDER: KOSOVO BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [07] EDITORIAL: NEW ERA FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
  • [08] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [09] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] EUROPEAN SUMMIT OVERNIGHTER (S ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)

    DATE=12/9/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257014
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European leaders meet this morning (Friday) in Helsinki to discuss the Russian military move in Chechnya and the attempt of Turkey to become a candidate for European Union membership. Ron Pemstein reports from the Finnish capital.

    TEXT: For 12 years Turkey has applied to join the European Union without success. In contrast to past years, all 15 countries appear ready this morning to make Turkey a candidate. Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen says the leaders will decide the wording of their invitation after they convene, but there will be no more negotiations with Turkey.

    /// LIPPONEN ACT ///

    We have had our talks and contacts with Turkey and they have been very valuable but now it is time for us to decide.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Lipponen met with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss Greece's conditions for allowing Turkey to be a candidate for membership. At the suggestion of France the leaders have put Chechnya on their opening agenda and they must decide if the European Union wants to threaten economic sanctions against Russia. (Signed) NEB/rp/gm 09-Dec-1999 19:30 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 0030 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] E-U SUMMIT (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257034
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European leaders meeting in Helsinki have taken decisions that will fundamentally change the European Union in the next decade. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from the Finnish capital.

    TEXT: Turkey first applied for membership in the European Union in 1987. Two years ago, the European Union not only rejected Turkey, but also began membership negotiations with five former communist countries and the government of Cyprus. Turkey broke off its cooperation with the European Union in disgust. That bitter history was put aside here in Helsinki as the 15 European leaders invited Turkey to become a candidate for E-U membership. They also agreed to start negotiations with five more former communist countries plus Malta. Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen read out the decisions.

    /// LIPPONEN ACT ///

    We have decided to invite six new countries into the enlargement negotiations and they are Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Malta. Secondly, we have decided to set a goal for the European Union to be ready by the end of 2002 to take thereafter new members. It will depend on the individual performance of countries in the negotiations when they would be able to accede. And thirdly, we have decided to confirm that Turkey is a candidate for membership of the European Union.

    /// END ACT ///

    The leaders accepted the suggestion of the European Commission that negotiations not start with Turkey until it fulfills the political conditions for enlargement. These include human rights for minorities such as the Kurds, and further improvements in Turkish relations with E-U member Greece. There are also guarantees for the eventual membership of Cyprus. Greek opposition had blocked any consideration of Turkey's application for membership until this meeting. Turkey did not reject the conditions, but it is clearly not happy at being treated differently from the six new candidates. The European Union's policy chief, Javier Solana, and Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen flew to Turkey to explain the invitation. Before leaving Helsinki, Commissioner Verheugen said the war in Kosovo this year has changed the perspectives of the European leaders about enlargement.

    /// VERHEUGEN ACT ///

    One of the lessons learned from the Kosovo crisis is that peace and stability in Europe isn't guaranteed. We still have to achieve it and enlargement is the best way to guarantee peace and stability, at least for the area where we have members and where we have candidate countries.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Verheugen says it becomes more difficult for countries to continue with reforms if they do not have the prospect of eventual membership in the European Union. He says there is no more first wave and second wave of candidates. The first six - Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus - are ahead in negotiating chapters of European Union law. However, since the European Union does not plan to enlarge before 2003, there is plenty of time for the new countries to catch up and surpass the original six. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 10-Dec-1999 11:11 AM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1611 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] E-U SUMMIT (S UPDATE) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257033
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: THIS REPORT UPDATES CR 2-257025 "E-U TURKEY" - WITH TURKISH REACTION ///

    INTRO: European Union leaders meeting in Helsinki have agreed to open enlargement negotiations with six new countries and to allow Turkey to become a candidate for eventual E-U member. But V-O-A's Ron Pemstein in the Finnish capital reports Turkey is not happy about the conditions.

    TEXT: It took only a short sentence from Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen to wipe out 12 years of unhappy relations between Turkey and the European Union.

    /// LIPPONEN ACT ///

    We have decided to confirm that Turkey is a candidate for membership of the European Union.

    /// END ACT ///

    But Turkey is not happy about the European Union's political conditions, which include better relations with Greece and assurances about eventual membership for Cyprus. European Union officials have gone to Ankara to explain the conditions. The 15 European leaders also agree to open membership negotiations early next year with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. Counting Turkey, that will bring to 13 the number of countries wanting to join the Union. The leaders say they will consider accepting new members by the end of the year 2002 if the countries are ready. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 10-Dec-1999 10:54 AM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1554 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] E-U / TURKEY (S) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257025
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European Union leaders meeting in Helsinki have agreed to open enlargement negotiations with six new countries and to allow Turkey to become a candidate for eventual E-U membership. V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from the Finnish capital.

    TEXT: It took only a short sentence from Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen to wipe out 12 years of unhappy relations between Turkey and the European Union.

    /// LIPPONEN ACT ///

    We have decided to confirm that Turkey is a candidate for membership of the European Union.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Finnish leader did not elaborate on what conditions have been placed on Turkey's bid for membership or what assurances have been given to Greece to drop its opposition to Turkey's candidacy. The 15 European leaders also agreed to open membership negotiations early next year with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. Counting Turkey, that will bring to 13 the number of countries wanting to join the European Union. E-U leaders say they will consider accepting new members by the end of the year 2002 -- if the countries are ready. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/KL 10-Dec-1999 08:19 AM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1319 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] E-U / CHECHNYA (S) BY RON PEMSTEIN (HELSINKI)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257040
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: European leaders have decided to cut back Europe's assistance to Russia because of the Russian bombardment of Chechnya. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from the E-U summit meeting in Helsinki.

    TEXT: The European sanctions are not likely to stop Russia's bombardment of Chechnya, but they do scale back the European Union's effort to help Russia. Some of Europe's technical assistance programs will be diverted to humanitarian assistance. The partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia will have parts suspended. And the trade provisions will be strictly applied. The European Union's External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, tells reporters he has changed his mind about not using technical assistance as a political weapon.

    /// PATTEN ACT ///

    We've bent over backwards to be understanding and reasonable, but I think that the parliaments of our member states, the European parliament, and public opinion in the European Union would not expect us to go on as though it was business as normal.

    /// END ACT ///

    The European leaders condemn the Russian bombardment of Chechen cities and the threats leveled against the residents of Grozny. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 10-Dec-1999 13:11 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1811 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] YEARENDER: KOSOVO BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44959
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Peace does not come easy to Kosovo. NATO's air strikes against Yugoslavia stopped Belgrade's ethnic cleansing campaign against Kosovo's ethnic- Albanian population. But the violence has not ended. As V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports, revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians against their former Serb neighbors continue unabated and reconciliation efforts are faltering.

    TEXT: Last April, the mayor of Cabra (jah brah) watched from his hiding place in the mountains as Serb forces obliterated the 235 homes in his village. The mayor, Osman Rama, believed neighbors from the eight surrounding Serb villages helped them.

    /// RAMA ACT ///

    They burned all of the village and the suburbs around the village. Still it was not enough. They came after 20 days with heavy bulldozers and began to destroy each wall and the trees.

    /// END ACT //

    Cabra residents now are rebuilding their homes. But schoolteacher Osman Hosseini warned in October that rebuilding relations with his Serb neighbors will take a lot longer.

    /// HOSSEINI ACT ///

    For this moment not, because we have 18 people from this village who were killed, massacred. So you can't imagine how we can talk with them when we didn't anything to them.

    /// END ACT ///

    Elsewhere in Kosovo that simmering animosity has exploded into violence. Since NATO forces supervised the withdrawal of the Yugoslav military last June, there are almost daily reports of ethnic Albanians' beating and killing Serbs. Officials estimate the death toll is higher than 400. Serb Orthodox priest Father Sava has been an outspoken critic of the international community's inability to stop the attacks or break down the wall of ethnic hatred.

    /// SAVA ACT ///

    In fact, we did not expect that there would be a green light for one repression to be replaced with another repression.

    /// END ACT ///

    When NATO's top commander in Kosovo, General Michael Jackson, left Pristina last October, he put the burden of reconciliation on Kosovo's leadership.

    /// JACKSON ACT ///

    At the end of the day, only the people themselves can break the cycle of violence and it is up to the community leaders to exercise the authority and the leadership and to work together to build a better future.

    /// END ACT ///

    But international efforts to rebuild a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo are faltering. Most of the Serb community has fled the province. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders do not agree on a course of action to follow. The few Serb leaders who are still left in Kosovo refuse to join any interim administration until the killings stop. The international mission in Kosovo has been frustrated because it lacks the power and the resources to compel local leaders to work together. By year's end the U-N mission had decided to place special representatives in isolated Serb villages as a confidence-building measure. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also graduated Kosovo's first resident police officers, including ethnic-Albanians, Serbs, and other minorities. It was seen as an important first step in what everyone recognizes will be a long and difficult process of reconciliation. (Signed) NEB/LMK/JWH/LTD/KL 10-Dec-1999 12:53 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1753 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [07] EDITORIAL: NEW ERA FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

    DATE=12/12/1999
    TYPE=EDITORIAL
    NUMBER=0-08564
    CONTENT=

    THIS IS A CORRECTED VERSION. Anncr: The Voice of America presents differing points of view on a wide variety of issues. Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: This month marks the beginning of a new era in Northern Ireland, torn by decades of strife between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and between British unionists and Irish nationalists. On December 2nd, authority over local affairs for the province was transferred from the British government to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which includes representatives of the conflicting factions. Northern Ireland is to remain a part of Britain unless a majority of its people decide otherwise. President Bill Clinton noted, "now the people of Northern Ireland have the authority and the power to work together and to shape their own future." Home rule for Northern Ireland is part of the Good Friday Accord, the peace settlement signed by the government of The United Kingdom and the Irish Republic in April 1998. In May of that year, over seventy percent of the voters in Northern Ireland approved the accord in a popular referendum. For its part, the Irish Republic amended its constitution and formally renounced its territorial claim to Northern Ireland. The next important step in implementing the accord is the disarming of the Irish Republican Army and Protestant Loyalist paramilitary groups. A commission has been established for this purpose. The I-R-A has named a representative to the commission and the Loyalist paramilitaries should do the same quickly. Overcoming decades of violence and hatred in Northern Ireland will not be easy. Many difficult issues have yet to be resolved. But one thing is clear, the overwhelming majority of the people of Northern Ireland, whatever their differences, seem determined to decide their future in a peaceful and democratic fashion. There may even be hope for people in the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere suffering the tragic effects of violent ethnic, religious, and racial conflict. As President Clinton said "the people of Northern Ireland, and their friends in the Irish Republic who voted for the Good Friday Accord, and in Great Britain. . . should know that what they have done has given enormous support and heart to people who are still struggling in very difficult circumstances everywhere in the world." Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-voa-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. 10-Dec-1999 16:54 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 2154 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257052
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were higher today (Friday) as a benign U-S inflation report cheered Wall Street. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 89 points, less than one percent, closing at 11-thousand- 224. The index, however, lost one-half of one percent for the week. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose eight points. And, the Nasdaq composite closed at another record high - up three-quarters of one percent. U-S prices at the wholesale level rose just two-tenths of one percent in November. Analyst Bill Greggs says this was in line with expectations:

    /// Greggs Act ///

    We're still in that wonderful situation where the economy is growing at a good pace and it shows no signs that we're going to slow down dramatically, although there are signs of some slowing, and that we're not generating much in the way of price pressures.

    /// End Act///

    The U-S central bank raised interest rates three times this year. No further action is expected when it meets December 21st.

    /// Rest Opt ///

    However, Stephen Slifer, chief economist at the Lehman brokerage firm, says the U-S economy is growing too fast and rates will likely be going up again early next year:

    /// Slifer Act///

    What I think the Fed (Federal Reserve Board) is going to do is say "Well, what do we think the speed limit is for the economy." And five-and- a-half (percent) is just really too fast for their taste. And it's true, it hasn't really shown up in any of the inflation numbers yet. But it's a matter of time. And I think the Fed is going to feel compelled to take a little tug on the reins at some point in the early part of next year.

    /// End Act ///

    It is now official. Number one automaker General Motors bought a 20 percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries - maker of Subaru vehicles. The one-point- four-billion dollar deal was signed in Tokyo Friday. It will allow the two auto companies to share technology and development of new models. Bye, bye, Beanie Babies! Ty - the U-S company that makes those popular stuffed toys - will stop production on December 31st. Disappointed fans and collectors had been expecting the company to produce a new line of the toys. Ty began selling Beanie Babies in 1993, distributing more than 100 characters - from dinosaurs and teddy bears to birds and zoo animals. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/JP 10-Dec-1999 17:11 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 2211 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/10/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11588
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The news that Syria and Israel will resume high-level peace talks after several years of stalemate continues to draw editorial comment in the U-S press this Friday. Russia's looming attack on Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, is also a popular topic. Other topics include the alleged bugging of the State Department by a Russian official and a commentary about the violence in Kosovo during the Serb occupation. Now here with a closer look and some quotes is _____________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Many papers are heartened by the news that Syria and Israel will resume talks here in Washington on a peace agreement that will include the Golan Heights. Israel won the strategic high ground from Syria in the 1967 war. Today's Hartford [Connecticut] Courant is cheering Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for keeping to a schedule of moves he promised during the election, including resuming peace talks with Syria.

    VOICE: Five months after assuming office, he is on target. . Mr. Barak and Mr. Assad know that they will get considerable heat for, respectively, "giving up" land and recognizing the long-demonized "Zionist entity." . Although the road to lasting peace will be difficult and may lead nowhere, it's better to embark, as Syria and Israel have done, than to remain stuck in the sand.

    TEXT: The Providence [Rhode Island] Journal is praising President Clinton for helping get the two sides together but warns:

    VOICE: [No] one thinks . this is going to be easy. The central point of contention, the Golan Heights . is immensely strategic. . Still, Mr. Barak has now gone the extra mile to signal his readiness for a comprehensive settlement. It's now up to the Syrians and Palestinians to signal their desire for peace.

    TEXT: In Pittsburgh, the Post-Gazette sees another factor as helping move things along.

    VOICE: A sense of his own mortality also might have brought President Assad back to the table. He has ruled Syria since 1970 and would like to bequeath power to his son Bashar. Recovering the Golan Heights . would provide the Assad dynasty with a greater luster at home.

    TEXT: And in the Midwest, a hopeful Chicago Tribune explains:

    VOICE: A peace treaty with Syria would pave the way for an expected Israeli troop pullout next July from southern Lebanon, Syria's client state. It also could build momentum for an Israeli deal with the Palestinians, not to mention a wider peace between Israel and as much as half of the Arab world, if others follow. ///OPT /// That kind of comprehensive peace would put Israel on stable terms with all close Arab neighbors, potentially making it more secure than at any time in its history.

    TEXT: Lastly on this topic, the Los Angeles Times suggests that the broad outlines of an agreement may have already been secretly agreed to and only the details have to be worked out.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: To another trouble spot now: The fighting in Chechnya and Moscow's warning about an all-out assault by Russian forces on the Chechen capital, Grozny. The Houston Chronicle is calling the Russian military's "leave-or-die" ultimatum to the people of Grozny "barbaric.

    VOICE: Russia may be bluffing about its intentions for Grozny. But it would be wise for people there to get out if they can. It is likely that Russia will lose some of its Western aid if it carries out its brutal plans.

    TEXT: Thursday's Oregonian in Portland was slightly hopeful that world reaction had caused Russia to follow through on its ultimatum, but the paper also warned:

    VOICE: . Russia will never achieve its aims of safety and stability by defeating the Chechens militarily. Even if Russia wins this round, even if Russian troops level Grozny with missiles, rebel fighters can take to the mountains and battle Russia for years.

    TEXT: Still with Russian affairs, USA Today is concerned about the latest spy incident between Moscow and Washington.

    VOICE: Americans had a chilling Cold War flashback Thursday upon learning that a Russian embassy attache had been caught spying on the State Department using a bugging device. . A thorough accounting and review of counterintelligence practices is in order .

    TEXT: As for the comment by Russian leader Boris Yeltsin -- that President Clinton may be forgetting Russia has a full nuclear arsenal -- the New York Times describes it as "unsettling,' but adds:

    VOICE: There is reason for reassurance, however, in the calm response from the Clinton administration and the speedy effort by Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, to emphasize the stability of overall relations between the United States and Russia.

    TEXT: And in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, where U-N peacekeepers are trying to keep the Albanians and Serbs from killing one another, The [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star-Tribune says a new report about previous Serb atrocities during the NATO bombing campaign should silence some criticism of the military action.

    VOICE: The report . reveals a pattern of human rights and humanitarian law violations on a staggering scale, often committed with extreme and appalling violence. . Plenty of room exists to criticize American and NATO actions in the weeks before the bombing, in executing the raids and in managing the aftermath. . But the . report should help put to rest the notion that NATO pretty much brought about the Kosovo tragedy.

    TEXT: Today's San Francisco Chronicle reflects on the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, saying that the United States, a predominantly Christian country, should take heed of it.

    VOICE: It's a time for honest, simple belief by a faith that continually risks misunderstanding in this country. Though Islam is the second largest religion in the United States, it is too often viewed, by those who know nothing about it, as dangerous and unreasonable. Witness the uproar over the EgyptAir crash or the actions of the Taleban militia in Afghanistan. . For . Muslims . this time is a chance to examine themselves free of everyday distractions. It's a lesson that people of other faiths should be able to respect and understand.

    TEXT: Domestically, there is an outpouring of grief at the death of six Worcester, Massachusetts, firefighters who died in a warehouse blaze. After a huge memorial service, attended by more than 15- thousand firefighters, some from as far away as Australia, the Manchester [New Hampshire] Union-Leader reminds readers:

    VOICE: What a stark reminder for all of us throughout New Hampshire of the harm's way in which firefighters, like police, readily and regularly place themselves in protecting the rest of us. . The six who lost their lives ... were part of that extraordinary group of men and women who ... are willing to . enter pitch-black, smoke-choked rooms and face searing flames in order to save . lives.

    TEXT: On that note we conclude this sampling of comment from Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/KL 10-Dec-1999 12:07 PM EDT (10-Dec-1999 1707 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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