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Voice of America, 01-07-25

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

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

SLUG: 2-278647 Bush Macedonia (L-only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:





    INTRO: Ethnic Albanian gunmen in Macedonia have reportedly agreed to withdraw from newly-captured positions as demanded by the government. VOA's Scott Stearns reports, President Bush is calling on both sides to return to the negotiating table.

    TEXT: White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says President Bush wants to see a return to the ceasefire between the Macedonian government and ethnic Albanian gunmen.

    /// FLEISCHER ACT ///

    The President believes that it is time for leaders to show leadership. That it is time to focus anew and to strengthen the initiatives to secure peace in Macedonia, to make certain that the ceasefire goes back into effect. The President does not believe there is any military solution to the problem in Macedonia. There is only a peaceful solution.

    /// END ACT ///

    Protestors this week threw stones at the American embassy in the Macedonian capital accussing NATO of siding with government opponents. They smashed the front of a McDonald's restaurant and stoned the German and British embassies. Mr. Fleischer says the President has been following events in Macedonia. He says Mr. Bush's visit to Kosovo Tuesday was a reminder of the dangers surrounding ethnic violence in the region. U-S officials are working to revive peace talks that collapsed last week over a provision that would make Albanian an official language in Macedonia. NATO Secretary General George Robertson and European Union foreign affairs chief Javier Solana are expected in the Macedonian capital Thursday in another effort to stop the fighting. Violence began in February when ethnic Albanian militants launched a fight for greater rights in a country where they account for one-third of the population. Macedonia's government says the gunmen are trying to divide the country. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PT SLUG: 6-12399 Wednesday's Editorials DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: The question of global warming and what to do about it is back in the editorial columns of U-S newspapers. The commentaries follow the U-S refusal to join 178 other nations signing a treaty to try to reduce pollution. Other U-S newspaper editorials discuss the political upheaval in Indonesia, the debate about stem cell research, the jailing of scholars in China, and Middle East violence. Here is V-O-A's ____________ with a closer look at some of those editorials in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The signing by almost 180 nations of the Kyoto protocol on global warming in Germany prompted a large number of editorials in the U-S press. Many are critical of what is perceived as a failure by the Bush administration to lead on this world issue, but there is a minority view that the treaty is a bad idea. In Georgia, the Atlanta Constitution is upset.

    VOICE: Future historians looking to pinpoint the precise date when America's global leadership began to ebb may well point to July 23, 2001... the day the rest of the planet agreed to so something about global warming, despite the petulant absence of the United States, whose president had attempted to thwart their efforts.

    TEXT: The New York Post however, calls the treaty "Global Piffle" and says the United States did the right thing.

    VOICE: Now begins the drumbeat: The U-S is "isolated." President Bush is "out of step." The ice caps are going to melt - - and it's all America's fault! Nonsense. The Kyoto protocol is an attempt to marry suspect science to the politics of European resentment. ... The science of global warming is ...a popular theory,'s far from having been proven.

    TEXT: The New York Post also suggests that many European nations will fail to actually ratify the pact. Not so, says the Philadelphia Inquirer, which complains: "U-S misses an opportunity to lead on reducing greenhouse emissions."

    VOICE: Like the United States, many other nations, most notably Japan, saw problems with the plan. Unlike the United States, those countries showed wisdom in remaining part of the protocol so they could continue trying to influence its details.

    TEXT: In Jacksonville, the Florida Times-Union is pleased the U-S declined to join.

    VOICE: President Bush is taking the prudent course by declining to get the United States involved in this warming ...effort. Before spending billions of dollars, and possibly crippling the economy, (President) Bush believes we should know whether there is global warming... outside the planet's normal temperature variations, and the cause.

    TEXT: But the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record scoffs:

    VOICE: Mr. Bush says his administration plans to come up with alternatives to deal with climate change, but the rest of the world has already made a start. Is this called U-S leadership?

    TEXT: And the Honolulu Advertiser says of the Bush withdrawal it: " the United States the aura of an extremely selfish world citizen."

    TEXT: The political upheaval in Indonesia -- the impeachment of President Abdurrahman Wahid and the inauguration of his Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri as chief executive -- draws this from Minneapolis, Minnesota's Star Tribune:

    VOICE: Americans like to root for democracy around the world, but often forget to watch the game in progress. This week they should be watching Indonesia, where democracy is flailing to stay alive. ... The world's fourth most populous nation is striving mightily to sustain popular rule, and needs all the help it can get. ...Instead of leading Indonesia out of its troubles, (President) Wahid deepened them. He stirred dissent by squelching it, yawned at corruption and fiddled while Indonesia's economy burned. Worst of all, he lost the trust of the country's lawmakers.

    TEXT: The Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain News runs this assessment from its foreign policy columnist Holger Jensen: "(President) Wahid had tremendous moral authority for standing up to the Suharto dictatorship but proved totally inept as a president. And in Texas, the Dallas Morning News offers this assessment of what lies ahead.

    VOICE: What happens in the next few weeks could define Indonesia for years. One hopes that the full transition of leadership in this nascent democracy will be completed peacefully. Mrs. Megawati, whose experience is limited, must fill her cabinet with capable, honest leaders and not allow the military to dominate.

    TEXT: Turning to the major domestic debate over whether the federal government should pay for stem cell research, Tennessee's Chattanooga Free Press says:

    VOICE: The answer to stem cell research should be a resounding "Yes!" so long as it does not kill anyone. Stem cells for needed research may be derived from adults and from discarded umbilical cords -- without doing any harm to anyone. But research using embryonic stem cells means killing the embryonic human life that began at conception and the answer to that should be an emphatic "No!"

    TEXT: China's latest actions in jailing a pair of non-resident Chinese scholars draws condemnation from The Washington Post.

    VOICE: Just four days before the arrival of Secretary of State Colin Powell, a court sentenced Ms. Gao Zhan ... the Washington-based academic who was abruptly arrested last February ... (for) espionage ... and another permanent U-S resident, Qin Guangguang, to ten-year-prison terms, after sham trials...closed to the press, U-S officials and other outside observers.

    TEXT: Adds The New York Times on the same topic: "If China's leaders want to move toward an era of more constructive relations with Washington, they will not get there by sentencing United States residents to lengthy jail terms on dubious spying charges just before a visit to Beijing by the secretary of state. As regards the G-8 summit of industrial nations and Russia last week in Genoa, Northern New Jersey's (Bergen County) Record was not favorably impressed.

    VOICE: The ... summit ... leaders sing the praises of free, unfettered trade, and pressure the world's poorest nations to dance to that tune if they want loans and aid. But the developed nations ... employ a barrage of trade restrictions to protect their own wealth. For example, they demand that developing nations drop tariffs on manufactured goods while their own tariffs, according to the United Nations, cost the poorest countries more than 700-billion dollars a year.

    TEXT: And, regarding the on-going Israeli-Palestinian violence and the prospect of third-party monitors to help restore order, The Detroit (Michigan) Free Press says:

    VOICE: Israel appeared to wink ... at the possibility of having a few extra C-I-A agents around to act as "third party observers," to a cease-fire in the troubled Middle East. But that's not going to be enough. ... The C-I-A has (not had) ... much success in helping ... keep the peace, even after C-I-A Director George Tenet personally brokered a truce.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this editorial sampling from Wednesday's U-S newspapers.
    NEB/ANG/JWH SLUG: 2-278625 Macedonia (L only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: Riots in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, and overnight battles in another Macedonian city have further undermined hopes for peace in the country. Jeff Bieley in Skopje reports government security forces are now threatening a new assault on ethnic-Albanian rebels in defiance of calls for restraint from diplomats.

    TEXT: Macedonian forces exchanged gunfire with ethnic-Albanian guerrillas in Tetovo from late Tuesday to early Wednesday. The city, 35 kilometers west of Skopje, is now reported to be quiet. Many shops remain closed after hundreds fled the town Tuesday. In the capital, a statement by the defense and interior ministers warned of a new offensive if the rebels do not pull back from recently captured positions near Tetovo. The ministers said no further appeals for restraint from Western diplomats would be heeded. Also in Skopje, an angry mob of youths were unchecked by police as they stoned the U-S embassy, shattering windows and forcing its closure. No U-S security personnel were injured. The German and British embassies also were targeted, as were offices and vehicles of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Observer teams of the O-S-C-E have monitored the on-again, off-again ceasefire in the west of the country for the past three weeks, talking to both sides in mediation efforts. The government closed Macedonia's border crossings to Kosovo on Tuesday, preventing NATO peacekeepers from using key supply routes. A NATO spokesman in Skopje said he had no explanation for the closure, but said the move had forced American troops to resort to using helicopters to send equipment out of Macedonia. Tuesday's violence was foreshadowed earlier in the day in a statement by a spokesman for Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. He accused NATO of attempting to seize control of Macedonia by befriending Albanian guerrillas. He also charged that international envoys who are supposed to be mediating peace talks are instead "directly supporting" the rebels. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/KL/JWH SLUG: 5-49847 Bush / Europe DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: President Bush has wrapped up a week long visit to Europe that took him to the G-8 economic summit in Italy and to Kosovo where he met with U-S troops taking part in NATO led peacekeeping operations. V-O-A White House correspondent Paula Wolfson has this report on the President's trip.

    TEXT: It ended at Camp Bondsteel, the sprawling operations center for Americans serving in the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Soldiers in green and brown camouflage gathered to hear the president. Several thousand came in all, some still weary and leaning on their rifles, perhaps after a long night on patrol. But the president, after a week of almost nonstop substance and ceremony in Europe, looked energized. He joked with the solders -- members of the six thousand strong U-S contingent in Kosovo. But his mood changed, from light to somber, as he talked about the seriousness of their mission. Many had been deployed to interdict arms headed for neighboring Macedonia:

    /// BUSH ACT ONE ///

    Thanks to you, there are fewer arms flowing into Macedonia and a hope for peace in that land. Thanks to you and the service of our forces throughout the Balkans, the region is growing closer to the rest of Europe.

    /// END ACT ///

    The speech to the soldiers contained no big statements of policy. But just before he spoke, the White House released a written statement from the president in which he chastised those in Kosovo who tried to incite violence in Macedonia. He said they are hurting the interests of ethnic Albanians throughout the region. Mr. Bush also called on all sides to revive the crumbling ceasefire and work towards a political settlement. He flew to Kosovo from Rome, where he conferred Monday with Italian leaders and Pope John Paul the Second. They talked about foreign policy in their private meeting, but when they emerged to greet the president's entourage, the pope delivered a strong statement in which he urged respect for life. He linked infanticide, euthanasia and medical research using cells from human embryos. He said they are all evil.


    A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life and at any stage from conception until natural death.

    /// END ACT ///

    Whether or not the U-S government should fund embryonic cell research is one of the biggest domestic policy decisions facing the president. The biggest national security issue was also addressed during the trip. On Sunday, Mr. Bush met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Genoa, Italy. At a news conference after the talks, Mr. Putin made a dramatic announcement. Speaking through an interpreter he said the United States and Russia had agreed to a new approach to arms talks:


    What was unexpected both for me and I think for President Bush, as well, was the understanding that was reached today between us on the issue that the offensive arms, an issue of defensive arms will be discussed as a set.

    ///END ACT ///

    It was the foreign policy highlight of the trip. Russia still stands opposed to Mr. Bush's plans for a missile defense system, but by linking discussions on defensive weapons to negotiations on offensive arms cuts they agreed to keep the dialogue going. The Bush-Putin meeting came at the end of the Genoa summit of the seven leading industrialized nations and Russia. The summit participants devoted most of their discussions to easing world poverty and their final communiqué detailed their commitment to helping the poorest of the poor. (SIGNED)
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