INTRO: The European Union has postponed an international donors' conference for Macedonia after two top E-U officials concluded Macedonia had failed to carry out constitutional reforms agreed to in a peace accord reached earlier this year. Stefan Bos has more.
TEXT: Speaking to reporters in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, the
European Union's external affairs commissioner, Chris Patten, said it
is, in his words, "absolutely inconceivable" that a donors' conference
that was scheduled for October 15th could take place.
Mr. Patten and E-U foreign policy chief Javier Solana say Macedonia's
parliament has still not adopted the constitutional changes that were
called for in a peace agreement reached this summer.
Under the accord, the country's estimated 600-thousand ethnic
Albanians would have been granted more language and political rights,
as well as more jobs in Macedonia's police force.
In another development, Western officials have expressed strong
opposition to efforts by Macedonia's interior minister, Ljube
Boskovski, to send police forces to ethnic-Albanian regions. The
officials say the police were to be re-deployed only in those areas
after the country's parliament had approved the peace agreement.
Macedonian officials said that several police units had entered
villages in the northwest of the country Thursday, but stressed that
they quickly moved out from several others because of what they
described as a "hostile reception."
European Union leaders fear that the presence of police forces could
destabilize the delicate peace in Macedonia.
Earlier this week a car bomb exploded in Skopje, killing one person,
and there are fears of more violent incidents.
Leaders of the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army said earlier
this week that they would like to continue their struggle as
politicians. But they have not ruled out a new war if the peace plan
is not adopted by the parliament.
Although NATO forces have collected nearly four-thousand weapons from
ethnic-Albanian fighters, analysts say that tens of thousands of guns
and other military hardware may be buried in the mountains for future
NEB/SB/KL/JWH SLUG: 6-12489 Friday's Editorials DATE: NOTE NUMBER:
INTRO: Some U-S newspapers are commenting editorially about the Russian airliner that exploded over the Black Sea on a flight from Israel to Russia's Siberia region. Editorials Friday also comment on the plight of the Afghan people, new alliances against terror, and anti-terror actions in this country. And there are editorials about the U-S economy, President Clinton's disbarment, a controversial U-S diplomat, and trade with Vietnam. Here with a closer look is __________ and today's U-S Editorial Digest.
TEXT: The Russian airliner was on a flight from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, Siberia, when it exploded over the Black Sea with no survivors. In Colorado, the Denver Post says:
VOICE: The ... airliner ... had 76 people aboard... mostly Israeli passengers ...headed to Novosibirsk in Siberia for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. ... Ukrainian and Russian armed forces were conducting military exercises in the area... including the live-firing of surface-to-air missiles at drone target aircraft. ...A U-S Defense Department source ...(says) the airliner may have been hit accidentally by a stray missile... Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier ... raised the specter that the plane was downed by terrorists. ...This latest air tragedy underscores the need for greater international cooperation to combat the threat of terrorist attacks on global civil aviation. ...We extend our sympathy ... to Russia and Israel...
TEXT: The Wall Street Journal that this comment on President Putin's terrorist statement:
VOICE: ...Look for Mr. Putin to stick to his terrorist story regardless, because he sees some diplomatic running room in joining the anti-terrorist cause. Osama bin Laden is America's target, but wiping out Chechen separatists is Russia's main goal...
TEXT: Many newspapers, including the Portland Oregonian, commented on the plight of Afghan civilians who are fleeing their country.
VOICE: The 27-million people of Afghanistan are far less likely to die from bombs and bullets than from starvation and disease -- the true collateral damage of war and drought, exacerbated by the cruelty of the Taleban regime. Thursday, President Bush offered 320-million dollars in humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and to neighboring countries being deluged by refugees. This ... assistance ...can ... help prevent Afghanistan's crisis from becoming a destabilizing, multinational catastrophe.
TEXT: In Washington state, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes the irony that:
VOICE: ... In the post-September 11th world of endless incongruities, few are as stark as this: The country that has given more money than any other to ease the physical suffering in Afghanistan is now poised to attack it. ... (in) basic, moral terms, the United States must take care to attend to the subsistence needs of the Afghans bound to be caught in the crossfire of the campaign against terrorism.
TEXT: And the Chicago Tribune notes that, despite the current war planning:
VOICE: ... The U-S has been the largest single donor of aid to Afghanistan in recent years. In food aid alone, America has provided 240-thousand metric tons of wheat this year to Afghans... Greater awareness of that fact could help (President) Bush assure Muslims that this is not an American war with Afghans, or with Islam.
TEXT: In Florida, the Saint Petersburg Times comments on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's trip to the Middle East and Central Asia:
VOICE: (It) was intended to put face-to-face pressure on the leaders of some important governments that had not fully committed to the war... Some of our supposed friends in the Islamic world still don't seem to understand what the United States has a right to expect -- in fact, demand -- of them in light of ... September 11th. ... Many countries in the region ... have covertly aided, protected or tolerated terrorists in their midst. Those days should be over.
TEXT: In Jacksonville, Florida, the Times-Union agrees, citing Saudi Arabia's possible continuing connections to the alleged terrorist mastermind, exiled Saudi businessman Osama bin Laden. The Minneapolis (Minnesota) Star Tribune laments the gaps in U-S immigration and intelligence gathering that are allowing "more than one-thousand people with terrorist ties" to be possibly "living in the United States. In New Jersey, the (Trenton) Times worries that a prime bomb-making ingredient, ammonium nitrate, is "still easier to get than beer in rural America." While, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Deseret News is pleased that the anti-terrorism bill President Bush wanted Congress to pass has been amended by lawmakers, calling its original form "a bad idea..." and praising Congress for a "wise tempering of ideas that could have had dangerous long-term consequences." In Texas, the Houston Chronicle editorially praises the Voice of America for airing parts of a news interview with Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in a report along with President Bush, despite State Department objections. Says the Chronicle: "It was the right decision," noting: (V-O-A's) "credibility has to be intact in order to be ... an effective tool for enlightening and persuading others to the U-S point of view..." In Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch says, "President Bush and Congress would miss the most important opportunity to restore confidence in air travel if they (fail) to commit ... to federalizing airport and airline security." The Charleston (South Carolina) Post and Courier is praising President Bush for his "enormous patience" in not rushing to attack the Taleban, before building a broad-based alliance. The Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel agrees, calling it Mr. "Bush's adroit diplomacy." In New Jersey, the (Bergen County) Record is pleased that the United States is making its case for help, and thanking friends for past assistance in the United Nations, where "suddenly, the U-S finds itself very dependent..."
TEXT: On other topics, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram is pleased
the Supreme Court has seen fit to disbar former president Bill Clinton
because it is a reminder that "all are -- or should be -- equal before
The San Antonio (Texas) Express-News says the Bush administration
should withdraw the nomination of Otto Reich, as assistant secretary
for Western Hemispheric affairs. His time as a U-S diplomat in Central
America during the Iran-Contra time, the newspaper says, sends the
"wrong signal" to Latin America.
And, the San Jose (California) Mercury News hails the normalization of
trade relations with former enemy Vietnam, which is on the president's
desk, awaiting his expected signature.
That ends this editorial sampling from Friday's U-S newspapers.