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Voice of America, 02-03-22

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

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

SLUG: 2-287876 Serbia-aid (L-only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:





    INTRO: Serbia and Montenegro Friday reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a huge 800 million dollar three year loan. But V-O-A's Barry Wood reports the I-M-F accord, to be ratified in May, could be jeopardized by an American demand that Belgrade comply with several political conditions.

    TEXT: In order to receive more bi-lateral U-S aid Belgrade by March 31st has to meet several Congressionally mandated conditions. The U-S Secretary of state is to decide if the conditions have been met. James Lyon, the Belgrade representative of the International Crisis Group (think tank), says Serbia is not even close to compliance.

    ///Lyon act///

    They still have 78 Albanian political prisoners in Serbian jails. We still have Serbian financing of the Republika Srbska army (in Bosnia). They are no nearer to institutionalized cooperation with the Hague than they were a year ago. Yes, there have been some individuals arrested and transferred. But these were entirely ad hoc actions.

    ///end act///

    The Americans say the price of a continuing 117 million dollar U-S aid program is the extradition of more indicted war criminals, the transfer of Albanian detainees to United Nations administration in Kosovo, and an end of budgetary support for the Bosnian Serb army. Mr. Lyon, speaking from Belgrade, says there is no political backing for action on any of the American conditions.

    ///Lyon act///

    On these issues of conditionality there is no domestic constituency what so ever in Yugoslavia except for a small, small political elite that would support any of these measures. Whether it be freeing the Albanian political prisoners or cutting financing to Srbska's army or cooperating with the Hague. So if there is no outside pressure there will be no compliance. And Serbia will become another Belarus.

    ///end act///

    Within the government there is disagreement between reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and President Vojislav Kostunica over the advisability of further measures to placate the west. The I-M-F's willingness to undertake a long-term lending program for Serbia and Montenegro rewards the impressive economic reform measures implemented over the past year. The I-M-F deputy managing director says Belgrade has compiled an excellent record in bringing down inflation, reforming the banking sector, achieving five percent economic growth last year, and privatizing enterprises. Even the Crisis Group's Lyon concedes that economically Serbia has accomplished more in one year than Bosnia-Hercegovina has in five.
    NEB/BDW/PT SLUG: 0-09782 Editorial - The Atrocity at Halabja DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: This month marks the fourteenth anniversary of a hideous atrocity perpetrated by the government of Iraq against the people of Iraq. On March 16th, 1988, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the aerial bombardment of Halabja, a predominantly Kurdish town in northeastern Iraq. The bombs the government used were chemical bombs mustard gas and other poisons. Five-thousand Iraqis died, and some ten-thousand were injured. The chemical weapons attack on Halabja was not an isolated incident. It was part of a systematic campaign ordered by Saddam Hussein against Iraqi Kurdish civilians. Halabja was just the worst hit of about two-hundred fifty villages targeted by the Iraqi government between April 1987 and August 1988. Human Rights Watch estimates that Iraqi forces killed fifty-thousand to one-hundred-thousand people during the 1988 campaign against the Kurds. That campaign was a crime against humanity. It is part of a long history of criminal conduct by Saddam Hussein's regime. Moreover, for over a decade, Iraq has plotted to develop anthrax, nerve gas, and nuclear weapons. Since 1998, Iraq has refused to allow United Nations inspectors to monitor whether it is complying with U-N prohibitions on the production of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, Iraq is providing safe haven and support to various terrorist groups, including the Abu Nidal Organization, the Arab Liberation Front, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and the Mujahedin-e Khalq. Iraq has now rebuilt much of the infrastructure destroyed during the Persian Gulf War -- infrastructure it needs to produce chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Iraq remains a threat not only because of those weapons, but also because of the willingness of Iraq's leaders to use them, even against Iraqi citizens. Saddam Hussein's regime must never be permitted to amass weapons of mass destruction, or again threaten Iraq's neighbors. "One thing I will not allow," said President George W. Bush, "is a nation such as Iraq [threatening] our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction." The victims of Saddam Hussein's cruelty deserve justice. There is no statute of limitations for Iraqi crimes against humanity such as Halabja. Saddam Hussein and his top associates should be held accountable. 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 0-09781 Editorial - Drugs and Terrorism DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: The links between terrorists and drug traffickers can take different forms. They range from providing protection or transportation to direct trafficking by terrorist organizations in order to finance their activities. As Rand Beers, U-S Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said, "Drug traffickers benefit from the terrorists' military skills, weapons supply, and access to clandestine organizations. Terrorists gain a source of revenue and expertise in illicit transfer and laundering of proceeds from the illicit transactions." Both groups often corrupt officials to obtain fraudulent documents, including passports and customs papers. Some governments collaborate directly with terrorists. When al-Qaida had its base of operations in Afghanistan, the terrorists earned revenue partly through taxes on opium production and trafficking. According to the U-S State Department, "Afghanistan's opiate trafficking, which account[ed] for seventy percent of the world's supply, was reportedly advocated by Osama bin Laden as a way to weaken the West." Likewise, the terrorist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has reportedly profited from the drug trade in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Russia, and other parts of Europe. In the Middle East, Lebanese Hezbollah gains money by having operatives smuggle cocaine from Latin America to Europe and elsewhere. Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous terrorist groups whose goal is to destroy Israel. In Europe, the separatist group known as the Basque Fatherland and Liberty organization is said to be involved in a variety of criminal activities from drug trafficking to money laundering. It is responsible for killing people in Spain. And in the Western Hemisphere, there has been a longtime link between terrorist groups and narcotics traffickers. Some units of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia extort funds from drug traffickers. Others receive cash payments or weapons for protecting cocaine laboratories and airstrips in the southern part of Colombia. Two other terrorist organizations - the National Liberation Army and the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia are also involved with the drug trade. The connection between illicit drug trafficking and terrorism is a fact. The U-S is committed to seeing it brought to an end. 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 0-09779 Editorial - Yemen Works with the U.S. DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Yemen has been home to many members and sympathizers of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, which was responsible for the September 11th attacks on America. Yemen was also the site of the al-Qaida attack on the U.S.S. Cole, which was on a routine refueling stop in the Yemeni port of Aden. On October 12th, 2000, a small boat carrying explosives rammed the destroyer, killing seventeen American sailors and injuring thirty-nine others. The danger to Americans in Yemen persists. Nevertheless, since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Yemen has been working with the United States to root out its terrorists. In the words of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, "We are dealing with the United States to confront and fight terrorism. Yemen is chasing down al-Qaida members and any extremist elements that cause security problems for us or for anyplace in the world." Yemeni law enforcement has been tracking down al-Qaida operatives. Yemen has arrested five of seventeen men named in a U.S. terrorism alert in February. Yemeni police also were able to prevent a suspected terrorist from blowing himself up with a grenade. The Yemeni government also has closed extremist Muslim schools and brought hundreds of other schools under its direct control. Foreign students at independent religious schools -- like the one attended by American Taleban fighter John Walker Lindh -- have been rounded up. Some have been sent back to their countries of origin for immigration and other violations. Yemen's border controls have been tightened. And security forces have interrogated relatives of Yemenis believed to have received training at al-Qaida terrorist camps in Afghanistan. In the words of President George W. Bush, "President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh has assured me that he is committed to confronting this danger. We will help Yemeni forces with both training and equipment to prevent that land from becoming a haven for terrorists." The United States appreciates Yemen's efforts to eradicate al-Qaida in Yemen. As Vice President Dick Cheney said following a recent meeting with Yemeni President Saleh, "We have increasingly developed. . .very close bilateral relations between the United States and Yemen." 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 0-09778 Editorial - Human Rights in Vietnam DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Human rights abuses have increased in Vietnam. Vietnam is a one-party state ruled by the Communist party. Opposition parties are banned and citizens are denied the right to change their government. The Vietnamese government imprisons citizens for the peaceful expression of their religious and political beliefs. The Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang [tick wen KWANG] is the eighty-one-year-old Supreme Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church. He has been detained in Quang Ngai [kwang NYE] province since 1982. He is reported to be in poor health. The Unified Buddhist Church has been resisting the Vietnamese government's efforts to bring it -- and all Buddhist clergy -- under Communist party control. The church's religious activities are prohibited. In Vietnam's Central Highlands, there were reports that vigilantes beat Protestant worshipers. There were unconfirmed reports that authorities demolished churches in some areas. Several reports describe a systematic campaign on the part of local officials in the Central Highlands to force ethnic minority Protestants to renounce their faith. Similar campaigns continue to be reported in other provinces of Vietnam. Religious and political dissidents face arbitrary arrest. Prison conditions are harsh. Detainees are subject to beatings and forced labor. Freedom of speech and the press are severely restricted in Vietnam. Dr. Nguyen Dan Que [nwen dahn kweh], a leading dissident and former political prisoner, continues to speak out against political repression. In an effort to silence him, the Vietnamese government has cut his telephone and fax line and blocked his access to the Internet. He is kept under constant surveillance. The Vietnamese government does not permit independent human rights organizations to operate. Those who cooperate with international human rights monitors face severe reprisals. Father Nguyen Van Ly [nwen van lee], a dissident Roman Catholic priest, was imprisoned in part for sending written testimony to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. By detaining those who speak out against human rights abuses, the Vietnamese government confirms the truth of their testimony. It's time for the repression to stop. 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 0-09777 Editorial - Cheney in Israel DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: Vice President Dick Cheney recently traveled to the Middle East on behalf of President George W. Bush. His purpose was to talk with leaders about "issues of great importance, especially our cooperative efforts in fighting terrorism and our determination to promote Arab-Israeli peace." In Israel, Mr. Cheney said he wanted "to reaffirm the strong, enduring ties between the American and Israeli peoples and to remind the world that the commitment of the United States to the security and well-being of Israel remains absolutely unshakeable." Both Israel and the U.S., Mr. Cheney said, "have lost many lives to merciless acts of terror" and stand together "to defeat this threat to the civilized world. We also stand together in our efforts to end the brutal acts of terror and violence that have beset the Holy Land for the past eighteen months and to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure." As Vice President Cheney said, "Both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered mightily. Both peoples deserve a better future, one in which they can live and work and play in safety and security, as good neighbors, without fear that they risk their children's lives simply by allowing them to go to a disco, or a pizzeria, or by sending them to a school." President Bush has outlined a vision in which two states -- Israel and Palestine -- can live together in peace and security. To realize that vision, said Mr. Cheney, "the Israeli people must have confidence that their existence as a Jewish state living within secure borders is accepted by all." For that reason, the U.S. continues to call on Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, to live up to his commitment to renounce the use of violence as a political weapon and to exert a one-hundred percent effort to stamp out terrorism. In the same spirit, Israel needs to take steps to alleviate the devastating economic hardship being experienced by Palestinian men, women, and children. "Our goal is clear," said Vice President Cheney, "to end the terror and violence [and] build confidence between Israelis and Palestinians that peace is not only possible, but necessary." 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 6-125615 Fridays' Editorials DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: Revised rules for the military tribunals which are slated to try suspected al-Qaida and Taleban fighters now held in Cuba are drawing an avalanche of comment this Friday in the U-S press. More reactions to campaign finance reform passing Congress; as well as the first comments on the Pope's reaction to America's Catholic sex scandal. Other papers are reacting to President Bush at the Monterrey, Mexico economic aid conference; there is some praise for Indonesia; the Mid East conflict; and a Cuban spy gets sentenced. Now, here is __________with a closer look and some quotes in today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Bush administration has announced revised, and many are saying, more liberal rules for military tribunals to try Afghan fighters. Today's New York Times says:

    VOICE: The plans for military tribunals are less troubling now than they were when the idea was first announced four months ago. But there is still no practical or legal justification for having the tribunals. The United States has a criminal justice system that is a model for the rest of the world. There is no reason to scrap it in these cases.

    TEXT: Today's Wall Street Journal views the changes this way:

    VOICE: The [new] regulations ensure that suspected terrorists will be treated nearly as well as American soldiers facing a court martial. They will include more than adequate due process protections, including the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    TEXT: The Los Angeles Times says that even with revisions, the trials should not be confused with the L-A Superior Court, because hearsay evidence will be admitted. Here's more:

    VOICE: But [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld has raised the possibility of further modification of rules. One such change should be allowing appeals to federal courts, not limiting them to a military panel and ultimately the president.

    TEXT: The view of The New York Post is that new rules give the prisoners "better than terror captives deserve." But in the Mid West, the Chicago Tribune suggests the new rules strike "a delicate balance," noting that military engagement is so different from law enforcement that the same rules cannot apply. Many regional dailies are commenting today on the Senate's passage of campaign finance reform legislation which President Bush is expected to sign into law. Western Pennsylvania's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says: "we applaud Wednesday's passage of the campaign finance reform bill, whose centerpiece is a ban on the unregulated "soft money" donated to the national political parties that has allowed special-interest groups to subvert legal limits of contributions to federal candidates. [EDITORS NOTE: "Soft money" is, until the new law goes into effect (after the next congressional election 6 Nov. this year) money donated to national parties for issue advertisements urging people to vote for specific candidates, and spelling out the party's positions on issues. This money has often been illegally diverted into specific election ads for congressional and presidential candidates. Much stricter rules govern specific donations to political candidates.] The Omaha [Nebraska] World-Herald is much more skeptical, quoting a famous Chinese saying:

    VOICE: the legislation Congress has prepared for President [Bush] may very well become a case of "be careful what you wish for - you might get it." we have little hope that this new system, or however much of it survives the courts, will be an improvement.

    TEXT: In the view of today's Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado, the bill is an "anti-democratic, speech-restricting mess," while Tennessee's Chattanooga Free Press describes it as "an unconstitutional fraud." Today's [Trenton, New Jersey Times says of the measure's reforms, "there is still work to be done." The Saint Petersburg [Florida] Times adds: "the [bill] won't magically cleanse a corrupt system, but it brings welcome restrictions on soft-money contributions." Moving on, Pope John Paul the Second has responded to a child molestation scandal sweeping the Roman Catholic priesthood in the United States. In New England, The Boston Globe is not pleased with what it characterizes as "almost [a] passing [reference]" at the end of a message to priests.

    VOICE: The Vatican may yet produce specific policy directives. In an attempt to restore confidence, the U-S Conference of Bishops will address the issue in June acting on recommendations yet to be unveiled by a special committee. These need to be tough, fair, and unambiguous

    TEXT: In the aftermath of the Pope's comments, The New York Post again calls on New York's Archbishop Cardinal Eagan to deliver to police prosecutors the names of priests suspected of sexual abuse of parishioners. And in Florida, where a Bishop has resigned after admitting he fondled a boy years ago, The Orlando Sentinel adds that the church's "secrecy backfired," adding: "The Catholic Church has only itself to blame that people are suspicious." Internationally, at the World Economic Development Conference in Mexico, President Bush and American aid are drawing the attention of Atlanta's [Georgia] Journal-Constitution. After noting the scheduled signing today of a declaration to end world poverty, it castigates the U-S effort:

    VOICE: increased aid is essential. At eleven billion dollars-a-year, the United States ranks last among 22 industrialized nations for foreign aid as a percentage of gross domestic product. We do not live up to our self-image as a generous people.

    TEXT: The Atlanta paper also says the president is setting "too high a standard for countries receiving ... aid" by demanding they root out corruption and respect human rights. Houston's [Texas] Chronicle agrees, suggesting "the efforts in Monterrey must recognize reality," adding that while the U-S aid budget is small "the United States contributes mightily [with] security costs, for instance, in places such as Colombia and the Middle East." In Asia, the Indonesian government of Megawati Sukarnoputri draws praise from The Washington Post which says after a "slow start" her administration: "has recently taken some positive steps toward addressing the enormous problems confronting her democratic government." The Post cites improved prosecution of the Suharto dictatorship's corruption, the army's East Timor abuses and handling of the economy. Turning our attention to the Middle East, The Detroit News is calling for a more consistent U-S policy there, suggesting that:

    VOICE: The recent attempt by the Bush administration and its Arab allies to spread the blame for Middle East violence equally between the Israelis and Palestinians was shattered Thursday by yet another suicide bombing in downtown Jerusalem. rather than relieve the violence, which has reached levels not seen in 20 years, the U-S- ordered [Israeli] pull-back has been met by more frequent and vicious Palestinian terrorism.

    TEXT: As for the revelation this week that the top U-S government intelligence analyst on Cuba was also a Cuban spy, Tennessee's Chattanooga Free Press asserts that the woman gets only a "slap on the wrist for punishment." She was sentenced to "as little as 20 years," the paper writes, although Ana Montes had revealed the identities of American agents in Havana. Lastly, and still in Tennessee, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis is pleased that after eight years, the Whitewater investigation has finally, in its words "sputtered to an inconclusive but formal close." It found that President Bill Clinton and his wife had not engaged in criminal activity in connection with the famed resort real estate deal. And that concludes this editorial sampling of Friday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/SAB SLUG: 0-09776 Editorial - U.S.-Uzbekistan Cooperation DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: The United States is stepping up cooperation with Uzbekistan in the war against terrorism. Since the al-Qaida attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, Uzbekistan has worked closely with the U.S., sharing intelligence and coordinating efforts to prevent the escape of terrorists from Afghanistan. U.S. military personnel are currently operating from Khanabad air base in southern Uzbekistan. Cooperation between the U.S. and Uzbekistan has permitted the flow of relief supplies to the people of Afghanistan, saving many lives threatened by hunger. A serious threat to Uzbekistan and the region continues to come from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or I-M-U. Part of the al-Qaida terrorist network of Osama bin Laden, the I-M-U seeks the violent overthrow of the Uzbekistan government. It has carried out armed attacks in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It has kidnapped foreigners, including Americans, and murdered civilians. I-M-U terrorists received training in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. Those camps are now in ruins and many of their graduates are dead or in custody. But others remain a threat. The war against terrorism does not preclude efforts to protect human rights. The U.S. is committed to assisting Uzbekistan in establishing a multi-party system and independent news media. Such reforms are desperately needed. Uzbekistan's government has a poor record on human rights. Its security services have committed many serious abuses. The U.S. will also assist Uzbekistan in its transition to a free-market economy. Humanitarian cooperation will be increased, particularly in efforts to upgrade education, public health, and environmental protection. Both countries recognize the need to build in Uzbekistan a democratic government based on respect for the rule of law. The U.S. will help train legal specialists and promote reform of Uzbekistan's judicial system. Defeating terrorism takes more than military action, law enforcement cooperation, and intelligence sharing. It takes a commitment to defending what terrorists seek to destroy: freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. These are the essential elements of the relationship that the U.S. hopes to build with Uzbekistan and its people. 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, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043.
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