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Voice of America, 00-05-19

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>





    INTRO: President Clinton has hailed the U-S Senate's rejection of a proposal to force an early withdrawal of U-S peacekeeping troops from Kosovo. In a speech marking Armed Forces day, the President warned against any effort to place time limits on American participation in the NATO-led operation. VOA's Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: The Senate proposal would have required U-S peacekeeping troops to leave Kosovo by July of next year, unless Mr. Clinton's successor won Congressional approval for them to stay. The President called the Senate rejection of the plan on Thursday `profoundly important.'

    /// Clinton act ///

    They affirmed our nation's commitment to stay the course in Kosovo - rejecting language that would have called our resolve into question, permitting people to say, had it passed, that the United States would walk away from a job half done, and leave others to finish. But the Senate said `no, we will not walk out on our allies, we will not walk out on freedom's promise, it may be a difficult job, but we intend to finish it.'

    /// end act ///

    But the Senate vote does not end the dispute over U-S policy in Kosovo. Some lawmakers remain concerned about the open-ended deployment of American troops in a region where sporadic violence has lingered since the end of the NATO bombing campaign that ousted Yugoslav troops from Kosovo nearly a year ago. The House of Representatives earlier this week approved a more limited withdrawal plan, which would require a pullout next April unless European allies pay more of the cost of the operation. Mr. Clinton says the Europeans are doing their fair share.

    /// Clinton act ///

    Since the end of the conflict, our European allies and others are supplying 85 percent of the troops and nearly 85 percent of the police on the ground. Our share of international assistance to Kosovo is now well under 20 percent. It has been a fair burden-sharing, because we bore the majority of the responsibility for the military conflict that made the peace possible.

    /// end act ///

    The President spoke at Andrews Air Force base outside Washington as he prepared to depart for a day of political fundraising in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) and Chicago (Illinois). (Signed)
    NEB/DAT/KBK 19-May-2000 11:53 AM EDT (19-May-2000 1553 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Union has held its first meeting in Brussels with representatives of Kosovo's Serb population. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein in Brussels reports both sides are requesting help from each other.

    TEXT: The Kosovo Serbs want the European Union's help in assisting the return to Kosovo of tens of thousands of Serbs who fled last June to Serbia. The Serbs also want E-U economic assistance, especially in providing seeds for agriculture. E-U foreign ministers will be asked next week to approve a series of measures to help the Serbs who remained in Kosovo after NATO troops entered and Yugoslav troops and police left. For its part, the European Union wants Kosovo Serb leaders to continue their temporary cooperation with United Nations-run Kosovo Interim Administration. The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, also asked the Serbs to take part in municipal elections scheduled for October. Mr. Solana told the Serb delegation leader, Bishop Artemije, the message he wants taken home.

    /// SOLANA ACT ///

    My dear friend, Bishop Artemije, I'd like to tell you very personally that the European Union strongly supports you and what you are doing. We're aware of the problems of security, of freedom of movement, the return of Kosovo Serbs to their homes, the economic situation. But today you will bring back to Kosovo, I hope, not only our solidarity, but a strong commitment of the European Union to do our utmost to develop a prosperous and multi-ethnic Kosovo.

    /// END ACT //

    The move by Bishop Artemije's group to cooperate with the United Nations has not been popular with other Serbs in Kosovo who support the Yugoslav government under President Slobodan Milosevic. The moderates' cooperation has been rejected by Serbs in northern Kosovo led by Oliver Jovanovic. Rada Trajkovic represents the Serb National Council with the U-N administration. She says they have no control over President Milosevic. However, she says though an interpreter that Mr. Jovanovic will have to cooperate if the moderate Serbs achieve results.


    We expect that the people in the north will accept us. That is where the solution lies and that is where the answer is. So, in the case we will be efficient, then Oliver will be demoralized.

    /// END ACT ///

    If there are benefits from international cooperation, Mrs. Trajkovic says she will present those results to the Serb National Council. It will be the council that will determine if Kosovo Serbs take part in the elections that the international community has planned in Kosovo. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/JP 19-May-2000 12:51 PM EDT (19-May-2000 1651 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The European Union has promised to help Serbian news media taken over earlier this week by the Serb government. But V-O-A's Ron Pemstein, in Brussels, reports the Serbian journalists received little specific help.

    TEXT: The European Union has condemned the seizure of Belgrade T-V station Studio B. However, at the end of a meeting of E-U officials with 20 Serbian journalists, the director of Studio B, Dragan Kojadinovic, says (through an interpreter) he needs help right now.


    [Serbian] We can remain in the streets for the next few days, but after that, you [the European Union] said we will receive some urgent aid. To what address are you going to send this aid? We haven't got an address any more. Our address is in the streets, in front of the police throwing tear gas at us. So while there are still journalists who want to carry on with their profession, and do it in an efficient and professional way, we have to know what is our future. Are we going to be tomorrow just ordinary citizens or will be able to continue our work as journalists? I repeat, you have no obligation whatsoever to help us, but we have come here, so could you at least tell us, can we count on your help or not?

    /// END ACT ///

    His question about immediate, concrete help was answered with vague promises about speeding aid for independent Serbian media. A German representative said his government will help Studio B in the next few days, as soon as bureaucratic details can be worked out. A Hungarian diplomat says his government will contribute five-thousand German marks to every media organization affected by the Serbian government crackdown. European External affairs Commissioner Chris Patten told the Serbian journalists that the raid on their premises is a sign of weakness by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    /// PATTEN ACT ///

    This campaign to throttle the independent media is hardly the hallmark of a confident leader, relaxed about his position and relaxed about his hold on power. It the action, in my judgment, of a man presiding increasingly nervously over a corrupt and cowardly regime, a regime desperate to snuff out dissent and to prevent the people of Serbia from finding out the truth about what's happening to them and to their country, about how their government is impoverishing them and blocking their road to Europe.

    /// END ACT ///

    Commissioner Patten is leading an effort to speed delivery of European Union aid to urgent areas, such as the independent media in Serbia. The question for the Serbian journalists in Brussels is whether that aid will reach them in time. (Signed) NEB/RDP/JWH/ENE/WTW 19-May-2000 12:47 PM EDT (19-May-2000 1647 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: China and the European Union have reached a trade agreement that removes the last major barrier to China's entry to the World Trade Organization. VOA's Leta Hong Fincher reports from Beijing, where the deal was sealed following some last minute intervention by a top Chinese official.

    TEXT: European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng signed the landmark trade agreement Friday evening after five painstaking days of negotiations. Mr. Lamy says the deal is a giant step towards China's entry to the World Trade Organization.

    ///LAMY ACT///

    Entry into the W-T-O is like unlocking a number of doors. We came here this week to cut the right key that would fit this particular negotiating door. It has taken us some time, as some of you will have noticed, but we have now got the right key, it is ready to be turned, and I am confident that the door marked WTO entry will soon swing open.

    ///END ACT///

    Under the European Union deal, China agreed to reduce tariffs on more than 150 major European imports and speed the opening of its markets to foreign competitors. China will also improve market access in banking, legal services, agriculture and a wide variety of other sectors. The concessions made to the European Union will automatically apply to all other W-T-O members. Mr. Lamy says the fifteen E-U member states originally wanted far more concessions in the areas of telecommunications, insurance and auto manufacturing. But he says the Chinese trade negotiators made it clear that certain things were too politically difficult to consider.

    ///SECOND LAMY ACT ///

    A great deal of what we have achieved has been offered by the Chinese to compensate us for what they were unable to deliver. It is my belief that by spreading the improvements, as we have, across a large number of sectors and in close consultation with industry, we have in fact secured a better deal for a broader range of EU industries than if we had focused solely on China's most politically sensitive interests.

    ///END ACT ///

    Mr. Lamy said Chinese Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji's eleventh hour intervention in the negotiations was crucial to achieving a final agreement on some of the most important remaining issues. China must still reach separate agreements with five W-T-O member states before it can formally enter the global trade body. (Signed)
    NEB/LHF/KBK 19-May-2000 13:14 PM EDT (19-May-2000 1714 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Northern Ireland's Protestant leader, David Trimble, is urging his divided Ulster Unionist Party to accept a disarmament offer from the Irish Republican Army. This could revive a disbanded power- sharing agreement (between Protestants and Catholics) in the Northern Ireland provincial government. V-O-A's Evans Hays reports from London.

    TEXT: Mr. Trimble faces the difficult task of convincing skeptical Unionist party members to accept a disarmament offer from the Irish Republican Army. Approval of the I-R-A plan is crucial if Britain is to restore a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive, set up under a 1998 peace accord but disbanded earlier this year. The party's governing council was to have met Saturday to vote on the I-R-A offer, but Mr. Trimble postponed the meeting (for one week), amid fears the I-R-A disarmament plan would be rejected. The I-R-A has agreed to store its weapons in secret bunkers that will be monitored by international observers. Its earlier failure to make a disarmament offer led Britain to disband the power-sharing executive. Mr. Trimble says the I-R-A has made a good-faith offer.

    /// TRIMBLE ACT ONE ///

    Now some people might say to me, how do we know that the I-R-A will carry out the statements that it has made, how do we know that they will in fact put the guns beyond use completely and verifiably? And the answer to them is, there's only one way to find out.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Trimble will spend the next several days trying to clear up misunderstandings about the I-R-A plan.


    I think we need to explain matters and I think we need to meet the confusion out there. And we will do what we can to have a proper debate so that when we take a decision, we do so on an informed basis rather than have people rushed into it. And we need a proper dialogue on this, rather than to have some of the material that's been pushed through people's letter boxes over the course of the last week.

    /// END ACT ////// END OPT ///

    Britain's senior minister for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, says he believes Mr. Trimble will succeed, once he overcomes what Mr. Mandelson calls "disgusting lies" being spread by opponents of peace in Northern Ireland.

    /// MANDELSON ACT ///

    These are lies, I've already said, that are worthy of [World War Two-era Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels himself. These are lies coming from people who have run out of an argument; they've run out of an alternative way forward. If we were to follow them, we would not have the peace, we would not have the government, the inclusive government for Northern Ireland. We would have further instability for a generation.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Trimble has seven days to make his case before convening the Ulster Union Council next Saturday, May 27th. (Signed)
    NEB/EH/JWH/WTW 19-May-2000 08:55 AM EDT (19-May-2000 1255 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Stocks in the United States today (Friday) were down after a day of unusually light trading on Wall Street with technology stocks leading the rout. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 166 points - one point four percent - to 10-thousand - 626. The Standard and Poor's 500 index - reflecting the broader market - slipped 30 points or two-point- one percent. And the Nasdaq composite sank 148 points, about four percent. This is the third consecutive week the Nasdaq has declined. Market analysts say much of the decline is due to worries that the U-S central bank will continue to raise interest rates, slowing the economy to curb inflation. The central bank hiked interest rates for the sixth time Tuesday and has hinted at a further raise. Any efforts to slow growth hit technology particularly hard. Richard Cripps of the investment advisory service Legg Mason says some investors who own too much technology are panicking but the stock news in general is more positive than negative.

    //// REST OPT for long ////

    /// CRIPPS ACT ///

    I think two-thirds of the equity market that is not technology is actually okay and I think that investors would be better of being far more constructive and opportunistic than bearish.

    //// END ACT ///

    In business news, Intel, the world's largest computer chipmaker, said it has reduced its fiscal first- quarter earnings slightly and expects to make further charges against earnings to cover the costs of replacing some products. Intel shares closed down. Sycamore Networks, a maker of fiber-optic equipment, posted gains beating analysts' expectations. Daniel Smith is the C-E-O of Sycamore Networks which just went pubic in October.

    /// SMITH ACT ///

    We are certainly very pleased with growth and revenue. We showed 104 percent sequential growth over our second quarter this year . We are also very pleased with levels of profitability we attained and the growth in employee base and customer expansion -- we signed three new customers in the quarter -- and the global expansion of our distribution channels were all very, very important in the quarter.

    /// END ACT ////

    Sycamore Networks shares closed down Friday, which Mr. Smith attributed to the overall market attitude toward technology stocks. (Signed) NEB/NYC/bjs/LSF/PT 19-May-2000 17:47 PM EDT (19-May-2000 2147 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: The U-S Congress is debating whether to approve full trading relations with China, and the topic continues to find a key place in the nation's editorial columns. Close behind it are comments on the arrest of two white men recently charged with bombing a mainly black church in the southern United States more than decades ago. The capture of a rebel leader in Sierra Leone also comes in for attention, as does the Clinton administration policy on Africa. The early moves of Russia's new president are being closely watched, among them his assistance to Yugoslavia. And lastly, after 30 years, two American girls get an answer to their letter cast adrift in a bottle. Now, here is ________ with a closer look in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The U-S House of Representatives is scheduled to vote soon on one of the year's most important pieces of legislation - a bill that would normalize trade relations with China. At present, normal trade authorization is extended one year at a time. The Fort Worth [Texas] Star-Telegram sees the trade issue being needlessly complicated by China's blustering toward Taiwan.

    VOICE: China must choose between threatening Taiwan and getting normalized trade relations with the United States. Beijing's latest efforts to bully Taiwan into acquiescing to the status of a province of mainland China could not have been more poorly timed. With the House ... scheduled to ... vote next week ... it would appear to be in Beijing's best interests to tone down its rhetoric on Taiwan until the issue is decided.

    TEXT: The Detroit Free Press is considering organized labor's opposition to permanent trade relations compared to its claimed benefits to U-S business. Its conclusion:

    VOICE: Organized labor protests notwithstanding, the pending China trade bill is a win-win for the U-S economy and its workers. ... The bill would end 20 years of annual congressional votes on China's trade status ...[and] ... would grant Chinese products permanent access to U-S markets with the same low tariffs most other countries enjoy.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: Another aspect of the China trade issue is the pending airline expansion between the two countries, which draws the attention of the Chicago Tribune.

    VOICE: ... a separate lobbying battle involving China ... [concerns] ... which among four applicants will win the coveted right to join United, Northwest and Federal Express in offering direct air service to China. That the government and not the marketplace has sole authority to make this decision is infuriating - - the result of a bilateral trade agreement between China and the U-S ... last year.

    TEXT: The Tribune says it is a tough decision, pitting passengers against packages, and tourism against merchandise trade, with both passenger and air cargo firms bidding for the new position.

    /// END OPT ///

    Domestically, the big news drawing comment is the arrest, more than 30 years after the crime, of two Southern white men. They are accused of bombing a black, Birmingham, Alabama, church in 1963 during the nation's civil rights struggle. The attack killed four little girls. The [Cleveland, Ohio] Plain Dealer is pleased that justice may finally be done.

    VOICE: The cowardly murder ... is hard to forget even nearly 37 years later. Denise McNair, 11, and Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins, all 14, were putting on their choir robes when dynamite exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church, horrifying the nation. /// OPT /// ... Southern prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials certainly haven't forgotten. /// END OPT /// ... By keeping the case alive, [U-S Attorney Doug] Jones honors the memory of those little girls, slaughtered pitilessly on a Sunday morning. Their cry for justice cannot be allowed to die.

    TEXT: The San Francisco Chronicle says the bombing was so shocking, it gave the African-American civil rights struggle new momentum.

    VOICE: ... the bombing ... prompted millions of Americans to join the fight against segregation and the reign of racist terror that prevailed in the Deep South. ... But these will be difficult convictions to win. Memories have faded, witnesses have died and physical evidence has been lost or tarnished by time. /// OPT /// Still, Americans will be watching and demanding a dose of justice, far later and far less satisfying than the memories of these four little girls deserved. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to African news, the capture of Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh, continues to draw comment. The New York Times says despite the horrors committed by his forces, (including the amputation of children's limbs) Mr. Sankoh must have a fair, respectable trial.

    VOICE: A trial for Mr. Sankoh must be conducted according to international standards before impartial judges, affording the accused access to counsel and the means to wage an effective defense. /// OPT /// ... the best approach is to create an international tribunal like those the U-N has established for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. /// END OPT /// [However] ... it should now be clear that any attempt to enlist Mr. Sankoh as a partner in peace is doomed to fail. Bringing him to justice is the best way to curb the anarchy that lies at the root of Sierra Leone's agony.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: In Ohio, The Akron Beacon Journal is just pleased that the rebel boss is now a captive.

    VOICE: [Mr.] Sankoh's 10-year rebellion has fostered anarchy from which Sierra Leone will take years to recover. [He] ... must be tried as a war criminal for the atrocities of his Revolutionary United Front.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In the national daily. U-S-A Today, published in a Washington suburb, the newspaper accuses the Clinton administration of having an unfocused policy toward Africa. The paper cites the litany of ills, from wars and famine to the AIDS epidemic and other diseases, then comments:

    VOICE: The United States surely can't expect to solve every woe. But under Washington's watchful eye, it has been doing less of what is needed, not more. Official U-S aid to Africa has been falling since 1992. As a percentage of national wealth, the United States donates less non-military aid to sub-Saharan Africa than does Canada or Japan. ... the Clinton administration has ... consistently ... failed to articulate goals that inspire effective engagement.

    TEXT: In an adjoining response published in U-S-A Today, Samuel Berger, the president's national security adviser, disputes the newspaper's claim. He says the Clinton record on Africa "speaks for itself." On the other side of the world, some of the first moves by Russia's new president, Vladimir Putin, are drawing fire from a Florida daily, The St. Petersburg Times.

    VOICE: Not for nothing was Vladimir Putin trained by the K-G-B (the former Soviet intelligence agency). The new president of Russia seems a little too nostalgic for the old days when government controlled information and intimidated the press ... The vodka toasts at [Mr.] Putin's inauguration were barely over when masked police commandos burst into the office of ... Media-Most Company ... proprietor of ... a television channel which has been critical of the war against Chechnya and skeptical about [Mr.] Putin's commitment to democratic ways. /// OPT /// ... Newspaper and magazine editors who have had the temerity to question [President] Putin's policies have also been "visited" by men with guns. /// END OPT ///... We must hope that journalists will not be cowed [Editors: "frightened into submission"] by these tactics

    TEXT: Today's Washington Post is worried that Mr. Putin may even be "exporting" his contempt for a free press to another Slavic leader.

    VOICE: The already gloomy outlook for democracy in Yugoslavia darkened considerably this week when President Slobodan Milosevic shut Belgrade's two main opposition-run broadcasting operations along with the popular newspaper, Blic. ... Some 20-thousand people protested the media crackdown in the streets of Belgrade ... perhaps Mr. Milosevic has actually felt fortified by recent international events. First Congress sent a strong signal of Kosovo fatigue, nearly adopting a (measure calling for a)... U-S pullout ... by July of next year. ... Then newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin of Russia extended Belgrade moral and material support, welcoming Belgrade's defense minister, General Dragolub Ojdanic, indicted by the war crimes tribunal in the Hague for actions during the Kosovo war ... Now the isolated Mr. Milosevic has what he needs most: a foreign patron. /// OPT /// Thus did Mr. Putin demonstrate that his conception of restoring Russia's great power status includes violating his country's legal responsibility to enforce a valid international arrest warrant against a wanted war criminal. This was a slap in the face of the Clinton administration and a challenge to NATO. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The recent progress in the Northern Ireland peace process draws this praise from The Dallas Morning News.

    VOICE: The Northern Irish peace process got an indispensable boost with the Irish Republican Army's welcome announcement that it would reveal the locations of secret arms depositories to international inspectors. ...It means ...the way is cleared to reinstate the provincial home rule that the British government revoked in February. ... The onus is now on Protestant paramilitary groups to put their arms beyond reach too.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    TEXT: As to the latest violence in the Middle East, against a backdrop of significant diplomatic progress between Israel and the Palestinians, The [Cleveland, Ohio] Plain Dealer says in Friday's editions:

    VOICE: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a bold move to advance the peace process when he won the Knesset's approval ... to transfer three villages bordering Jerusalem to Palestinian control. Parliament consented even as heavy Israeli-Palestinian fighting raged in the West Bank. At other times, such a situation probably would have dissuaded an Israeli leader from proposing any territorial concessions to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. ... Further challenges lie ahead, including the tricky extrication of Israeli forces from Lebanon. But so far, [Mr.] Barak shows admirable tenacity in his pursuit of peace.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: And lastly, the incredible, 20-year tale of a letter mailed at sea in a bottle by two young, Connecticut, girls. It was found earlier this year by fisherman Michael Wall, on an Irish beach. He plans to visit the young women later this year when he travels to the United States. Says Charleston's [South Carolina] Post and Courier:

    VOICE: It reminds us of the value of carefully putting pen to paper and waiting patiently for a similarly crafted response.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 19-May-2000 12:43 PM EDT (19-May-2000 1643 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America

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