Browse through our Interesting Nodes on Religion in Greece A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Thursday, 15 April 2021
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 241, 99-12-14

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 3, No. 241, 14 December 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] EAST-WEST TENSIONS MAY FORCE ARMENIA TO CHOOSE
  • [02] OBSERVERS, OPPOSITION CHARGE IRREGULARITIES IN
  • [03] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT GREETS U.S. SUPPORT ON
  • [04] ...WARNS OF 'CATASTROPHE' IF RUSSIAN GAS CUT OFF
  • [05] KAZAKHSTAN CHARGES OPPOSITION WITH STOCKPILING
  • [06] NO ISLAMIC MILITANTS IN KAZAKHSTAN, DEFENSE
  • [07] KAZAKHSTAN PLEDGES TO MEET FINANCIAL
  • [08] TURKEY TO SUPPORT KYRGYSTAN'S MILITARY

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] CROATIA PAYS LASTS RESPECTS TO TUDJMAN
  • [10] JELAVIC SAYS MUSLIMS, SERBS SNUB CROATS
  • [11] CONFRONTATION BREWING BETWEEN SERBS, SFOR OVER
  • [12] HAGUE COURT GIVES 'SERBIAN ADOLF' 40 YEARS
  • [13] DRASKOVIC PARTY SPURNS AVRAMOVIC AS SERBIAN
  • [14] BELGRADE TO DEVALUE DINAR?
  • [15] MORE JUDGES FOR KOSOVA
  • [16] ALBANIAN WRITER DEMANDS DIENSTBIER'S OUSTER
  • [17] FORMER YUGOSLAV POLITICAN DIES
  • [18] U.S. AID FOR MACEDONIA
  • [19] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES PREMIER...
  • [20] ...BUT CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERTS SAY DISMISSAL IS
  • [21] ...AND VASILE REFUSES TO STEP DOWN
  • [22] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT REJECTS EARLY ELECTIONS
  • [23] CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC POPULAR FRONT CHANGES

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [24] THE ROMA OF OBILIC

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] EAST-WEST TENSIONS MAY FORCE ARMENIA TO CHOOSE

    SIDES

    At a press conference in Yerevan on 13 December,

    Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that rising

    tensions between Russia and the West might force his

    country to choose sides, which he said it has tried not to do

    until now, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. He added that

    if Yerevan were forced to take one or the other's side, that

    might further slow progress toward a resolution of Armenia's

    dispute with Azerbaijan over the status of Nagorno-

    Karabakh. PG

    [02] OBSERVERS, OPPOSITION CHARGE IRREGULARITIES IN

    AZERBAIJANI VOTE

    Observers from the Council of Europe's

    Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and opposition

    political parties pointed to widespread irregularities in the 12

    December municipal elections in Azerbaijan. Turan reported

    the next day that the congress found widespread ballot

    stuffing as well as other irregularities. Officials of the

    Musavat, Democratic, and Social Democratic party said that

    not enough voters took part to make the elections valid. A

    monitor from the Czech Republic reached the same

    conclusion. And leaders of the Popular Front said there was a

    "total falsification" of results after the polls closed. PG

    [03] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT GREETS U.S. SUPPORT ON

    CHECHEN STANCE...

    In his weekly radio address on 13

    December, Eduard Shevardnadze said he views Washington's

    public support for his decision to prevent Chechen fighters

    from entering Georgia as reflecting "the wish of the U.S. to

    protect Georgia from any complications in connection with the

    events in Chechnya." He added that by its rapid response to

    his statement, the US State Department sent a clear

    message that "the international community, including the U.S.,

    will not allow any violation of the sovereignty of Georgia." PG

    [04] ...WARNS OF 'CATASTROPHE' IF RUSSIAN GAS CUT OFF

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze told a press

    conference in Tbilisi on 13 December that it would be a

    "catastrophe" if a Russian company cuts off gas supplies to

    Georgia, the Prime News Agency reported. The Georgian

    leader said that his new fuel and energy minister has invited

    Russian officials to Tbilisi for talks to resolve the issue of

    Georgian debts, which have prompted the Russian side to

    reduce gas supplies to the Caucasian republic. Meanwhile, a

    report on the Georgian television station Rustavi-2

    suggested on 12 December that Georgian officials

    orchestrated the crisis in order to gain control of key

    industries in Georgia. PG

    [05] KAZAKHSTAN CHARGES OPPOSITION WITH STOCKPILING

    ARMS

    Speaking on Kazakhstan Television on 13 December,

    Internal Affairs Minister Kairbek Suleymanov said that his

    officers have seized "several barrels of arms...that belong to

    the supporters of former Prime Minister Akezhan

    Magzhanovich Kazhegeldin." The minister confirmed the arrest

    of three of the former premier's bodyguards, who he said

    have confessed to criminal charges, Interfax reported. The

    news agency quoted opposition spokesman as saying the

    charges were a "provocation" designed to discredit

    Kazhegeldin in the eyes of the population of Kazakhstan. PG

    [06] NO ISLAMIC MILITANTS IN KAZAKHSTAN, DEFENSE

    MINISTER SAYS

    Sat Tokpakbayev told journalists in Astana

    on 13 December that he has no information about the alleged

    presence of bandit formations and Wahhabis in Kazakhstan,

    Interfax reported. If representatives of the country's special

    services have reported the existence of such groups,

    Tokpakbayev said, then it "seems that they have more

    detailed information" than he does. In other comments, ITAR-

    TASS reported on 13 December, the defense minister said

    Russia will deliver several S-300 surface-to-air missile

    systems to Kazakhstan later this month. PG

    [07] KAZAKHSTAN PLEDGES TO MEET FINANCIAL

    OBLIGATIONS

    According to Interfax on 13 December,

    Deputy Prime Minister Yerzhan Utembayev has told reporters

    that Astana will meet its $200 million Eurobond obligations by

    the end of the month. The government will raise money from

    improved tax collections, the sale of state-owned assets,

    and borrowing from local companies. Meanwhile, a U.S.

    businessman is seeking to embarrass President Nursultan

    Nazarbayev during his visit to the U.S. this week by seeking

    to force hotels and other vendors to hand over money the

    businessman says Kazakhstan owes him over a disputed oil

    deal, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 December. PG

    [08] TURKEY TO SUPPORT KYRGYSTAN'S MILITARY

    Turkish

    State Minister Abdulhaluk Cay said in Bishkek on 13

    December that Ankara will provide logical and military-

    technical assistance to more than 3,000 Kyrgyz soldiers in

    the coming years, ITAR-TASS reported. Cay said that Ankara

    was prepared to reschedule Kyrgyzstan's $2.5 million debt to

    Turkey's Eximbank. PG


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] CROATIA PAYS LASTS RESPECTS TO TUDJMAN

    Some

    100,000 people turned out in Zagreb on 13 December for

    the funeral of President Franjo Tudjman (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 13 December 1999), Reuters reported. The state-

    run news agency Hina put the number of those present at

    250,000. The independent daily "Jutarnji list" stressed that

    no top official from the major powers attended the funeral

    and that the only head of state present was Turkey's

    Suleyman Demirel. Some analysts suggested, however, that

    Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community will try to use the

    snub to its advantage in the 3 January parliamentary

    elections by claiming that the absence of key foreign leaders

    is "evidence" of their unfair prejudice against Croatia. PM

    [10] JELAVIC SAYS MUSLIMS, SERBS SNUB CROATS

    Ante

    Jelavic, who is the Croatian member of the Bosnian joint

    presidency, said at Tudjman's funeral on 13 December that

    he regrets that his Muslim and Serbian colleagues, Alija

    Izetbegovic and Zivko Radisic, did not accompany him to

    Zagreb. Jelavic that the two men's absence--especially that

    of Izetbegovic--is evidence that the Serbs and Muslims do

    not accept the Croats as their equals. PM

    [11] CONFRONTATION BREWING BETWEEN SERBS, SFOR OVER

    BRCKO?

    General Ronald Adams, who is the commander of

    NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia, said in Banja Luka on 13

    December that he may order the demilitarization of the Brcko

    area if the Bosnian Serb authorities do not make an

    agreement with SFOR to demilitarize the area voluntarily.

    Republika Srpska Defense Minister Manojlo Milovanovic

    recently said that his government cannot make any

    agreement on demilitarization at present. It can act only if the

    Bosnian Serb parliament repeals its resolution rejecting the

    international community's decision to place Brcko permanently

    under the joint administration of the Republika Srpska and the

    mainly Muslim and Croatian federation, he added. Also in Banja

    Luka, Radisic said the Bosnian Serb authorities will continue to

    respect the resolution because it best serves Bosnian Serb

    interests, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

    [12] HAGUE COURT GIVES 'SERBIAN ADOLF' 40 YEARS

    The

    Hague-based war crimes tribunal on 14 December sentenced

    Goran Jelisic to 40 years in prison for the murder and torture

    of Muslims at the Luka prison camp near Brcko in 1992. The

    court convicted him on 31 counts of war crimes and crimes

    against humanity. Jelisic often referred to himself as the

    "Serbian Adolf" in a boastful reference to his own brutality.

    Reuters reported that his sentence is one of the toughest

    that the court has handed down. PM

    [13] DRASKOVIC PARTY SPURNS AVRAMOVIC AS SERBIAN

    SPOKESMAN

    Dragoslav Avramovic, who is a former head of

    the National Bank and one of the most popular personalities

    in Serbia, said in Belgrade on 13 December that he has the

    support of three major opposition coalitions to prepare a

    common platform. The opposition will use the document in

    talks with officials of the EU and U.S. in Berlin on 17

    December. Ognjen Pribicevic, who is a spokesman for Vuk

    Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), said, however,

    that his party does not recognize Avramovic as the

    opposition's chief representative. Predrag Simic, who is a top

    aide to Draskovic, stressed that the SPO will prepare its own

    documents. Avramovic is credited with stopping Yugoslavia's

    runaway inflation in 1994 and is widely regarded as the best

    candidate to head a post-Milosevic opposition-led

    government. PM

    [14] BELGRADE TO DEVALUE DINAR?

    Serbian Prime Minister

    Mirko Marjanovic said in Belgrade on 13 December that there

    will be no devaluation of the dinar, RFE/RL's South Slavic

    Service reported. Marjanovic stressed that the government

    will continue to control prices for basic goods. Economist

    Slobodan Milosavljevic said, however, that preparations have

    been made for a devaluation. In Serbia, the dinar is officially

    valued at six to the German mark, although the black market

    rate in recent months has been more than double that. In

    Montenegro, the official exchange rate in that republic is now

    20 dinars to DM 1 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 December

    1999). The Bosnian Serb government's exchange rate is 16

    to DM 1. PM

    [15] MORE JUDGES FOR KOSOVA

    The UN's Bernard Kouchner

    said in Prishtina on 13 December that he will soon appoint

    another 400 judges and prosecutors in an effort "to kick-

    start a justice system that has barely functioned," Reuters

    reported. It is unclear where he has found or will find these

    individuals. Kouchner added that Kosova will soon have its

    own penal code. For his part, KFOR commander General Klaus

    Reinhardt said that "three out of four [peacekeepers] are

    out day and night patrolling.... I now have 1,000 soldiers on

    static guard duty every day. Their sole purpose is the

    guarding of houses, churches, or other sites where ethnic

    minorities are located," he noted. Reinhardt added that his

    troops will soon begin additional joint patrols with UN police.

    PM

    [16] ALBANIAN WRITER DEMANDS DIENSTBIER'S OUSTER

    Ismail Kadare, who is widely regarded as the greatest living

    Albanian writer, wrote in "Le Monde" on 13 December that Jiri

    Dienstbier should resign as the UN's special envoy for human

    rights in the former Yugoslavia. Kadare said that Dienstbier

    has frequently taken openly pro-Serbian stands and placed

    Serbian genocidal policies in Kosova on the same level as

    isolated revenge killings by individual ethnic Albanians. Kadare

    added that the former Czechoslovak foreign minister

    maintains "close and suspicious" relations with prominent

    Serbs. Observers note that Dienstbier was one of the few

    representatives--if not the only one--of the international

    community in the Balkans who frequently made pro-Serbian

    statements during the spring 1999 conflict. PM

    [17] FORMER YUGOSLAV POLITICAN DIES

    Stane Dolanc died in

    Slovenia at the age of 74 on 13 December, some months

    after suffering a stroke. One of Yugoslavia's most prominent

    hard-line leaders in the 1970s and 1980s, Dolanc lived in

    recent years in virtual seclusion in Kranjska Gora, in western

    Slovenia. PM

    [18] U.S. AID FOR MACEDONIA

    USAID officials agreed in Skopje

    on 13 December to provide a $22 million grant to Macedonia

    to help the government pay unemployment benefits and

    create new jobs. U.S. officials said that the grant is in

    recognition of the help Macedonia provided to Western

    countries during the Kosova conflict in the spring of 1999.

    Macedonia's official unemployment rate stands at 54 percent,

    AP reported. PM

    [19] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DISMISSES PREMIER...

    Emil

    Constantinescu on 13 December dismissed Prime Minister

    Radu Vasile in a move that has been contested as

    unconstitutional. Constantinescu said Labor and Social

    Affairs Minister Alexandru Athanasiu will take over as

    interim prime minister until a permanent replacement is

    found. Athanasiu accepted the appointment but added that

    his interim government will not have the power to draw up

    legislation or pass ordinances. All 18 ministers attended a

    meeting called by Athanasiu on 14 December, despite

    questions about the legality of Constantinescu's move. The

    president's decision came after the parties in the

    governing coalition announced they were withdrawing

    support from Vasile and that their ministers would resign.

    The revolt against Vasile began after his own National

    Peasant Party Christian Democratic withdrew its support

    from the prime minister, saying it wanted a new

    government that would be able to handle Romania's

    economic problems and communicate better with the

    parliament. VG

    [20] ...BUT CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERTS SAY DISMISSAL IS

    ILLEGAL...

    Constitutional experts on 13 December said

    Constantinescu does not have the power to remove the

    prime minister. According to the Romanian Constitution, the

    president has the power to appoint the prime minister but

    not to dismiss him. Unless the prime minister is

    incapacitated by illness, the only way to remove him is

    through a vote of no confidence. One of the author's of

    Romania's constitution, Antonie Iorgavan, told the Antena 1

    television station that the dismissal was a "coup d'etat."

    Iorgavan said Vasile is still the prime minister "from a

    constitutional point of view," AP reported. VG

    [21] ...AND VASILE REFUSES TO STEP DOWN

    Vasile on 13

    December said he will not accept Constantinescu's

    decision, adding that governments can be dismissed only

    by the parliament. However, government spokesman Andrei

    Anghel said Vasile did not attend a cabinet meeting called

    by Athanasiu on 14 December and did not come to the

    government building, AP reported. The day before, Vasile

    described his dismissal as the result of a "plot against him."

    He said Romania has become a "presidential regime which

    can lead to repressive measures." Meanwhile, opposition

    Party of Social Democracy in Romania Deputy Chairman

    Adrian Nastase described the prime minister's dismissal as

    an "unprecedented crisis" and called for early elections,

    Romanian Radio reported. VG

    [22] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT REJECTS EARLY ELECTIONS

    Petru Lucinschi said early elections would be the "most

    undesirable variant" for Moldova, according to a 13

    December Infotag report quoting presidential spokesman

    Anatol Golea. Golea said the president is continuing

    negotiations with various parliamentary groups on a potential

    candidate for the prime ministerial post. He said Ion Casian,

    who has been touted in the press as the most likely

    candidate, has "rich experience of working in government."

    However, Casian has said he will not accept the post unless

    he has a guaranteed parliamentary majority. Golea said that if

    the parliamentary parties reject Casian, negotiations will

    continue to find another candidate. VG

    [23] CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC POPULAR FRONT CHANGES

    NAME

    Delegates to a weekend congress of the Christian

    Democratic Popular Front voted to change the party's

    name to Christian Democratic People's Party, Infotag and

    BASA-Press reported on 13 December. The party also

    removed from its statues a reference to the "spiritual and

    territorial restoration of the national unity of all Romanians

    on both banks of the Proute River." That passage was

    replaced by one calling for "integration within Europe of

    nations and fulfillment of national unity in full agreement

    with the will of the people and international treaties and in

    the natural process of approaching of the two Romanian

    countries," BASA-Press reported. A deputy from the

    Romanian National Peasant Party Christian Democratic read

    out a message from party chairman Ion Diaconescu saying,

    "Romania and Moldova must find each other again in the

    family of the United European States." VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [24] THE ROMA OF OBILIC

    By Alexandra Poolos

    In Obilic, a small town some 20 kilometers north of

    Prishtina, some 850 Roma have built a makeshift camp where

    they will remain throughout the winter. Living 10 or 12 to a

    tent, the Roma of Obilic spend their days cooking, sleeping,

    or roaming aimlessly through the rows of muddy tents. They

    say they are trapped in this small field at the end of a long,

    tree-lined road. No one ever leaves and there are few

    visitors.

    The Roma of Obilic are a disparate group. Before the

    war they lived in different villages in Kosova as Albanian or

    Serbian Roma. But now even those Roma who called

    themselves Ashkalija and spoke Albanian say they face

    intimidation and violence from ethnic Albanians. They say their

    own sense of nationality or their actions during the war have

    no significance whatsoever. They are judged now, they say,

    by the color of their skin alone.

    Protected by Norwegian KFOR troops and provided with

    humanitarian assistance by the United Nations High

    Commissioner for Refugees, the Roma say they have no

    choice but to remain in Obilic. Most have lived there for five

    months.

    Sixty-year-old Nagije Begeshi said that when ethnic

    Albanians returned to Kosova and saw their homes

    destroyed, they in turn wanted to punish someone.

    Emine Adici is 12 years old and a leader among many of

    the Romany children in Obilic. She speaks Albanian, Serbian,

    English, and French but say she does not know Romany

    because before the war she considered herself Albanian, not

    Romany. Adici says she went to school with other Albanian

    children and never felt ostracized for her ethnicity. "I never

    really thought about being Romany at all," she says. "Now it's

    all I know. The Albanians won't let me forget."

    Some of Kosova's Roma admit they collaborated with

    Serbs. They say they often had no choice and were forced

    to do the "dirty work" for Serbian paramilitaries--to bury the

    bodies of Albanians, dig trenches for the military, and pillage

    and destroy ethnic Albanian property. In one interview with

    the Prishtina-based Humanitarian Law Center, an unnamed

    Prishtina Rom described how he and nine others were forced

    by Serbian police to bury the bodies of massacred Kosovar

    Albanians. He said there were some 40 bodies, all men aged

    between 25 and 50. Some of the bodies were still warm. He

    said the bodies were buried one by one in the village's

    Muslim graveyard.

    Following the signing of the peace settlement between

    NATO and Belgrade, the Roma and members of other minority

    groups who were involved in more violent acts left Kosova

    with retreating Serbian forces.

    Most of the minorities who remained after the arrival of

    KFOR troops last June have since left the province in large

    numbers.

    Estimates vary as to the number of non-Albanians now

    living in Kosova. But it is believed that well under half of the

    some 200,000 Serbs who lived in the province at the start of

    this year remain. Among the Roma, only some 6,000 out of

    some 30,000 are still there.

    And their numbers continue to dwindle. Serbs, Turks,

    Bosnian Muslims, and Croats--all these groups contend with

    harassment and violence from ethnic Albanians. They are

    isolated in their small ethnic enclaves, unable to gain access

    to education, health care, or work. Most depend on

    humanitarian aid for food and shelter. Almost all depend on

    the protection of KFOR troops.

    Peter Kessler, spokesman for the Kosova office of the

    UNHCR, says ethnic violence has recently increased in the

    province after a period of decline. He attributes the attacks

    on minorities not only to revenge but also to criminals who he

    says are targeting those who are most vulnerable. Kessler

    told RFE/RL that more needs to be done by international

    officials to create a secure environment for minorities.

    Ferat Gukatoni, a 20-year-old Rom, believes the Roma

    will never be able to return to their homes. He says Albanians

    want all Roma out of Kosova.

    Gukatoni is pessimistic about his chances of ever leaving

    the muddy tents of Obilic for his village in southern Kosova.

    He says he would rather leave the province entirely and try

    to build a new life for himself and his family outside Kosova,

    perhaps in Germany or the U.K.

    Moreover, he does not believe that KFOR or UN

    organizations will be able to deter ethnic Albanians from

    attacking the Roma if they dare leave their makeshift camp.

    "For now," he says, "we are stuck here. There is nowhere

    else to go."

    There was a time, not so long ago, when Romany

    musicians played at every Albanian (or Serbian) wedding in

    Kosova. The Roma were considered an integral part of

    society, their presence accepted in schools and businesses

    and at social gatherings.

    There are high hopes that Kosova will one day be

    multiethnic, but the Roma of Obilic do not believe they will

    return to their former villages. They say that for now, the

    Romany musicians will play only for themselves in KFOR

    protected camps.

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague.

    14-12-99


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    rferl2html v1.01 run on Tuesday, 14 December 1999 - 18:33:14 UTC