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Voice of America, 99-12-17

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND (L ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [02] G-8 / BERLIN SUMMIT (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [03] N-Y ECON WRAP (S&L) BY JOE CHAPMAN (NEW YORK)
  • [04] FRIDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND (L ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=12/17/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257245
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Northern Ireland's peace process took yet another step forward as the year draws to a close. Northern Ireland's new cabinet joined the new British- Irish council that brings together Britain, Ireland and British home rule territories for what will become a regular twice-a-year meeting. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London.

    TEXT: British Prime Minister Tony Blair greeted Northern Ireland's cabinet members to the first summit, including two members the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. The summit brings together British and Irish leaders with representatives of the home-rule administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Prime Minister Blair says the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which called for such meetings, creates what he calls a new architecture of institutional links.

    /// BLAIR ACT ///

    It gives us a framework for practical cooperation in areas where we can achieve more by working together. A framework with diverse functions but with one aim: to build a new partnership for the new century.

    /// END ACT ///

    The meeting comes two weeks after the British government officially transferred home rule powers to Belfast and Northern Ireland's power-sharing cabinet held its first historic meeting. Last week, Northern Ireland's cabinet met with the Irish Republic's administration in the first meeting of their north- south cooperation council. While that all-Irish meeting was considered by Northern Ireland's republicans as a step toward their goal of a united Ireland, the British-Irish meeting in London satisfies Unionist hopes of remaining part of Britain.
    NEB/LMK/JWH/PLM 17-Dec-1999 06:46 AM EDT (17-Dec-1999 1146 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] G-8 / BERLIN SUMMIT (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=12/17/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257251
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The world's leading industrialized nations stepped up their pressure on Russia Friday to end the war in Chechnya. The United States and its partners in the Group of Eight, or G-8 - the major industrial powers, plus Russia - called for an immediate cease- fire in Chechnya. But as Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin, U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admits there is little the West can do to force Russia's hand.

    TEXT: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov knew ahead of time he would face a barrage of criticism from his G-8 colleagues over Chechnya. Moscow says it is engaged in a war against bandits in the Caucasus retgion; the West feels Russia is carrying out a bloody offensive against Chechen civilians, as well as rebels holed up in the ruins of the capital, Grozny. Armed with a report on the situation in Chechnya by Knud Vollebaek, chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission there, G-8 ministers presented Mr.Ivanov with a list of four demands. First, they said, there must be a cease-fire. Then there must be formal contacts between the Chechens and Moscow, with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov included in the talks. There must also be a regional peace conference with the neighboring regions of Daghestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia, and an agreement on delivering humanitarian aid through effectively-policed, safe corridors. Mr. Ivanov was unmoved. He rejected a cease-fire, and made it clear he does not want Western mediation. But a cease-fire remained the West's key demand. Without that, Mr. Vollebaek warned, disaster lies ahead for civilians, who Russian Minister (for Emergencies) Sergei Shoigu says are still in Grozny. The O-S-C-E chairman says he will go on pressing for a cease-fire until the Russians change their minds.

    /// VOLLEBAEK ACT ///

    I think this is my job, in my capacity as Chairman of the O-S-C-E, to be insistent in this good cause, both to save civilian lives -- which is a good cause in itself -- and, if it's right like Minister Shoigu said that there are 45-thousand people left in Grozny, and the Russians say they will take Grozny in a matter of days, then I think we urgently need a cease- fire. Otherwise, there will be a bloodbath, as I see it, because there will be major fighting. Grozny will not fall easily.

    /// END ACT ///

    The difficulty, as both the G-8 meeting's German chairman (Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer) and Secretary Albright agreed, is that the West has little leverage over the Russians politically, and none militarily. The only pressure is moral - when it becomes apparent to the Russians themselves that they are no longer in the mainstream of international decision-making.

    /// ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    The Russians, through their actions, are self- isolating from the rest of the international community, and that was clear today ... that they are losing credibility and international standing, and as we look at policy options, I think the important point here is to try to keep explaining to the Russians what they could and should be doing and at the same time making sure in the case of the U-S that we continue to pursue our national interest, which is to have a functioning relationship with Russia.

    /// END ACT ///

    However, despite the joint demand for a cease-fire, diplomatic sources say the lack of any concrete effort to pressure Moscow left some delegations dissatisfied, especially those who were calling for the United States to halt its export credits to Russia through the Export Import Bank. Friday's G-8 meeting broke up without a final joint communique. Chechnya will continue to dominate the international agenda at least through Russia's parliamentary elections at the weekend. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/WTW 17-Dec-1999 11:11 AM EDT (17-Dec-1999 1611 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] N-Y ECON WRAP (S&L) BY JOE CHAPMAN (NEW YORK)

    DATE=11/19/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257266
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices on Wall Street closed mixed Friday, but high-technology stocks continued their strong surge. V-O-A's Joe Chapman reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 31 points, closing at 11-thousand-three points after Caterpillar, one of the Dow's 30 component stocks, reported lower-than-expected earnings. For the week, the Dow Jones average moved up 234 points, about two percent. The Standard and Poor's 500, a broader and more representative index, moved up 22 points for the week, just under two percent. But the NASDAQ composite index closed up 22 points for the day, less than one percent, to three-thousand-369, for its 13th record close in 16 trading days. The NASDAQ was up four percent for the week.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Analyst Ted Weisberg says, despite the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the last day of the week really was not all that different from Thursday, when the average moved up 152 points.

    /// WEISBERG ACT ///

    It's true we had a Dow up 150 points, but it was concentrated mostly in one, possibly two stocks. The money is certainly flowing into the market, but the list where it's going is quite narrow.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Weisberg says the stock market has been trading in a narrow range for some time, and he now expects prices to resume moving upward. Telecommunications firms were very active, after Britain's Vodafone bid 128-billion dollars for Germany's Mannesman conglomerate. If the deal is closed, it will be the largest corporate merger or takeover ever. (Signed) NEB/NYC/JMC/LSF/WTW 17-Dec-1999 17:19 PM EDT (17-Dec-1999 2219 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=12/17/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11599
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The offer of more than five-billion dollars in reparations to Nazi Germany's surviving slave laborers from World War Two, is one of a wide range of foreign topics under discussion in Friday's U-S newspapers. Other editorials deal with a scathing report on U-N failures during the Rwandan genocide; a Serbian sentenced at the Balkan war crimes proceedings; Turkey's application to join the European Union, and an apparently successful ambush of Russian forces in Chechnya. Other topics deal with Cuba, Chile's election and the demise of a favorite newspaper comic strip. Now, here is _______ with a closer look in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The German government and some private firms are expected to give five-point-one-billion dollars to settle claims of thousands of people forced into slave labor by the Nazis during World War Two. The signing is set for today in Berlin. The Pittsburgh Post- Gazette says "Money can't buy justice for Nazi-camp survivors:"

    VOICE: The deal is at once an admirable and awkward gesture - admirable in that it expresses contrition and helps survivors who may be in need, awkward in that it runs the risk of trivializing the magnitude of the Nazi crimes. There are some things money can't fix.

    TEXT: Still with war crimes, but current ones, the conviction of Serbian prison guard Goran Jelisic by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Hague, this week, elicits this from the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska.

    VOICE: . for those deeds - encompassing 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity - the court has sentenced him to 40 years. .. It is difficult if not impossible for Westerners to understand the passions that drive such behavior. Something in the nature of the centuries-long conflicts that have raged through the Balkans drives a hyper-intense desire for exacting the goriest and most calculated brands of revenge ..

    TEXT: Today's New York Times comments on a scathing report by the United Nations about its flaws in dealing with Rwanda's genocide in the early 1990s.

    VOICE: The . report is noteworthy, less for its sadly familiar account than for the fact of its existence and its timing. It comes a month after a comparably critical internal report that showed how the U-N allowed the Bosnian Muslim "safe area" of Srebrenica to be overrun in July 1995 by Bosnian Serbs, who then killed thousands of the town's men and boys. Together these inquiries establish an admirable new standard of candor at the U-N ...

    TEXT: As regards the European Union's recent bid to expand into to Eastern Europe, and to begin considering Turkey as a possible member, The Los Angeles Times says the invitation presents a "Big `If' for [the] Turks, as well as numerous commercial advantages."

    VOICE: The bid to Ankara is a responsible and politically astute move by the E-U and an important opportunity for Turkey . [despite] Ankara's poor record on human rights, particularly in dealing with its Kurdish minority, its intermittent suppression of the press and the strong influence of the military on government. .. The incentive for change in Turkey is powerful: access to the European common market, labor mobility and broader access to capital.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times concludes by noting that as badly as Turks want this deal, "only their leaders can make it happen," and they "should not miss the opportunity." In another editorial, The L-A Times comments on a reported ambush by Chechen guerrilla fighters in their capital Grozny, that reportedly left more than 100 Russians dead and destroyed several tanks.

    VOICE: Until now, Russian public opinion has backed the war.. But popular backing could quickly erode if army casualties mount, as they did in the 1994-95 war. . A political solution could be crafted to reaffirm the de-facto autonomy within the Russian union that Chechnya won in 1996, while saving face for Moscow. Absent that, many more Chechen civilians and Russian soldiers seem destined to die /// OPT /// in an open-ended conflict that defies a military solution.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to issues in the Americas, the Chicago Tribune has an editorial calling last Sunday's election in Chile "inconclusive yet startling."

    VOICE: Widespread dissatisfaction with a stalled economy, along with rising joblessness and crime, propelled the campaign of rightist Joaquin Lavin .. To within less than half a percentage point of Ricardo Lagos, candidate of the ruling left-center coalition. Whichever one wins the January 16th runoff will face the task of re-energizing Chile's free-market economy . /// OPT /// . the economic squeeze on the lower classes has led to a jump in urban crime. Alleviating those problems, without returning to big government or undoing free-market reforms, will be a neat trick. . just as all eyes were on Chile when it plunged into free-market economics, so now other Latin countries will be watching to see how it deals with some of the challenges created by it. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Still in Latin America, the turnover of the Panama Canal from U-S to Panamanian sovereignty this week draws this appraisal from The Washington Post, which joins other dailies in chiding President Clinton for missing the ceremony.

    VOICE: Many Panamanians now wonder whether they are up to carrying such a demanding burden. But most know there is no turning back. . the best security for the canal will inevitably come from the strengthening of Panama's democracy and economy.

    TEXT: To Cuba now, and the 1980s Mariel boatlift continues to cause problems in this country, such as the Louisiana prison stand-off now in its third day. It involves Mariel boatlift-Cuban criminal detainees, who have taken hostage a warden and several guards. The Chicago Tribune says of the prisoners:

    VOICE: Were Cuban-American relations at all normal, they already would have been deported, as U-S law requires. But Cuba won't agree to take them and U-S authorities rightly fear releasing them into the population at large.

    TEXT: The Tribune also says that the six-year-old Cuban rafter boy refugee, Elian Gonzalez, should be returned to his father in Cuba forthwith. In a separate editorial, The Florida Times-Union from Jacksonville concurs with that assessment on the boy's future. Lastly, yet another commentary praising Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip who announced his retirement this week after being diagnosed with cancer. From his native Minnesota, a proud [Minneapolis] Star-Tribune says of this native son:

    VOICE: [Mr.] Schulz's inspiration may have been Minnesotan, but his appeal was universal. Witness his strip's reach into 26-hundred newspapers in 75 countries. Other Minnesotans may have made more erudite contributions to literature, but none made so many people smile.

    TEXT: That wraps up this sampling of comments from the editorial pages of Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 17-Dec-1999 11:21 AM EDT (17-Dec-1999 1621 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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