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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 149, 00-08-04

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. 4, No. 149, 4 August 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN CALLS FOR SHADOW GOVERNMENT
  • [02] PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO
  • [03] FORMER AZERBAIJANI DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS MUCH MILITARY
  • [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AMNESTIES 44 PRISONERS
  • [05] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT WARNS TAX EVADERS
  • [06] KAZAKHSTAN'S PROSECUTOR GENERAL REJECTS BRIBE CHARGES
  • [07] KYRGYZ DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND KULOV'S ACQUITTAL
  • [08] TAJIK SECURITY OFFICIAL SEES THREATS RECEDING
  • [09] TAJIK CABINET SEEKS TO INCREASE EXPORTS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [10] BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE PROTESTS SERBIAN ARRESTS
  • [11] GENERAL CLARK URGES PLANNING FOR MONTENEGRO
  • [12] YUGOSLAV ARMY SHUTS SOME MONTENEGRIN BORDER CROSSINGS
  • [13] ALBRIGHT: SERBIA'S MILOSEVIC 'RUNNING SCARED'
  • [14] DRASKOVIC TRYING TO PRESSURE SERBIAN OPPOSITION?
  • [15] THREE SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINALS ESCAPE FROM JAIL IN KOSOVA
  • [16] KOSOVA MODERATE PARTY SLAMS SHOOTING OF TWO LEADERS
  • [17] U.S. TO REOPEN VISA SECTION IN TIRANA EMBASSY
  • [18] THE LAST YUGOSLAV?
  • [19] ROMANIA'S LIBERALS ISOLATING FORMER ALLIES...
  • [20] ...AND CONTINUE FEELERS WITH MELESCANU'S PARTY
  • [21] EU RAPPORTEUR SAYS ROMANIA'S ROAD TO UNION 'LONG AND
  • [22] ROMANIAN ROMANY ORGANIZATION TO SUE STATE
  • [23] OSCE DOUBTS RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL BY END 2002
  • [24] BULGARIAN PREMIER DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN BUGGING SCANDAL

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [25] DEATH OF A CHECHEN PRAGMATIST

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN CALLS FOR SHADOW GOVERNMENT

    Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan on 3 August,

    National Democratic Union (AZhM) parliament deputy Arshak

    Sadoyan accused President Robert Kocharian and Defense

    Minister Serzh Sarkisian of creating an atmosphere of

    "political confrontation," Armenpress reported. Sadoyan said

    the present leadership is incapable of setting national

    priorities and pursues "selfish ends." He also argued that

    the 26 and 28 July parliament votes approving government

    proposals to privatize four energy distribution networks were

    not valid, as 66 votes are required but only 64 and 63 were

    cast in favor. Sadoyan called on all "healthy forces" to

    align in a shadow government with the objective of forcing--

    by legal and peaceful means--the present government's

    resignation. LF

    [02] PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT'S VISIT TO

    IRAN

    Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayet Guliev met in Baku

    on 3 August with Tehran's ambassador, Alirza Bikdeli, to

    discuss the agenda for Heidar Aliev's visit to Iran next

    month, Turan reported. The visit had originally been

    scheduled for the fall of 1999 and then for March of this

    year (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No. 41, 14

    October 1999 and Vol. 3, No. 12, 24 March 2000). LF

    [03] FORMER AZERBAIJANI DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS MUCH MILITARY

    EQUIPMENT OBSOLETE

    Alekper Mamedov, a former aide to

    Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiev, told journalists in

    Baku on 3 August that since 1994 the country's armed forces

    have been using obsolete equipment, Interfax reported. He

    claimed that the Defense Ministry had spent millions of

    dollars purchasing obsolete Soviet military hardware. Mamedov

    also claimed that 2,000 servicemen have been killed and about

    3,000 wounded in peacetime. An investigation last year failed

    to confirm similar allegations of corruption within the

    Defense Ministry (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No.

    34, 26 August 1999 and Vol. 3, No. 5, 4 February 2000). LF

    [04] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT AMNESTIES 44 PRISONERS

    Eduard

    Shevardnadze pardoned 44 prisoners on 2 August out of a total

    of 147 whose names were submitted to him for consideration,

    Caucasus Press reported. All had already completed more than

    half the prison terms to which they had been sentenced for

    minor offenses, and 11 of them were former members of Tengiz

    Kitovani's Georgian National Guard. Shevardnadze declined,

    however, to amnesty 48 supporters of former President Zviad

    Gamsakhurdia whose comrades have threatened major protests if

    they are not released, according to AP. Parliament speaker

    Zurab Zhvania met on 3 August with members of the

    parliament's National Reconciliation Commission and the

    Coordinating Council for Political Prisoners to discuss those

    cases but the parliament's Human Rights Committee chairwoman,

    Elene Tevdoradze, said on 4 August that all those

    Gamsakhurdia supporters eligible for amnesty have already

    been released. LF

    [05] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT WARNS TAX EVADERS

    Speaking in the

    northern city of Pavlodar on 2 August, Nursultan Nazarbaev

    said an investigation will be launched to establish why many

    of the country's major industrial enterprises, including the

    Eurasian Bank group and KazakhMys, the country's largest

    copper producer, are failing to meet their tax commitments,

    Reuters and Interfax reported. "We need to work on getting

    them to open up their secrets, so that every Kazakh knows how

    much they produce, where they sell, what the world price was,

    how much profit they made, and how much tax they paid on that

    profit," Reuters quoted him as saying. Nazarbaev also said he

    has charged Deputy Premier Daniyal Akhmetov with drafting

    measures to persuade major enterprises to purchase locally

    produced rather than imported

    equipment. LF

    [06] KAZAKHSTAN'S PROSECUTOR GENERAL REJECTS BRIBE CHARGES

    Yurii

    Khitrin told a press conference in Astana on 3 August that

    Western press accounts claiming that President Nazarbaev and

    former Premier Nurlan Balghymbaev received multimillion

    dollar bribes from Western oil companies are "complete

    nonsense and fiction," and no evidence exists to substantiate

    those accusations, Reuters reported. Khitrin also said he

    plans to travel to Belgium next month in an attempt to

    persuade the Belgian authorities to cooperate in efforts to

    secure the extradition to Kazakhstan and prosecution of

    former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin. LF

    [07] KYRGYZ DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND KULOV'S ACQUITTAL

    Some 150

    people gathered outside the Supreme Court building in Bishkek

    on 3 August to demand the acquittal of former Bishkek Mayor

    Feliks Kulov, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported.

    Kulov's six-week trial on charges of abusing his official

    position while serving as National Security Minister ended on

    31 July, but a sentence has not yet been passed. Meanwhile

    the trial continues of a second prominent opposition

    politician, Topchubek Turgunaliev, who is accused of plotting

    to assassinate President Askar Akaev (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    3 August 2000). LF

    [08] TAJIK SECURITY OFFICIAL SEES THREATS RECEDING

    A large-scale

    opposition movement with significant popular support no

    longer exists in Tajikistan, Interfax on 3 August quoted

    Security Council Secretary Amirkul Azimov as saying. Azimov

    said almost all arms belonging to former units of the United

    Tajik Opposition that have been integrated into the armed

    forces or Interior Ministry have been registered, and that

    President Imomali Rakhmonov's May decree abolishing contract

    military service has further contributed to stabilizing the

    political situation. Azimov said some legally registered

    opposition political parties have only minimal influence. He

    evaluated the Tajik armed forces as the most mobile and

    professional in all the Central Asian Soviet successor states

    by virtue of their experience fighting the civil war of 1992-

    1997. But he admitted that Tajikistan remains vulnerable to

    continued upheaval in neighboring Afghanistan, adding that

    the entire world community must endeavor to bring about an

    end to drug-smuggling from Afghanistan via Tajikistan to

    other CIS states and Western Europe. LF

    [09] TAJIK CABINET SEEKS TO INCREASE EXPORTS

    Economy and Foreign

    Economic Relations Minister Yahyo Azimov said in Dushanbe on

    2 August that Tajikistan intends to increase the production

    and export of aluminum and cotton, which are the country's

    two main foreign currency earners, Reuters and Asia Plus-

    Blitz reported. He estimated that aluminum production will

    increase from 230,000 tons in 1999 to 300,000 tons in 2000

    and 346,000 tons in 2005. Presidential spokesman Zafar Saidov

    told Reuters that cotton production this year will be 500,000

    tons, up from 316,000 tons last year. Azimov had estimated

    this year's cotton harvest at 350,000 tons. Azimov also

    downplayed last week's UN agency claims that half of

    Tajikistan's population is threatened by hunger as a result

    of this summer's drought (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July

    2000). Deputy Agriculture Minister Ikhtior Ashurov said only

    100,000 tons of grain of an anticipated harvest of 700,000

    tons have been lost. "There will be no famine," he concluded.

    LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [10] BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE PROTESTS SERBIAN ARRESTS

    The Foreign

    Office summoned Belgrade's London-based diplomats on 3 August

    to demand information on the recent arrest at Andrijevica--

    near Montenegro's border with Kosova--of two British OSCE

    police trainers and two Canadian contractors, "The

    Independent" reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 August 2000).

    In Ottawa, the Canadian government expressed similar

    concerns, Reuters noted. The four were on vacation in

    Montenegro from their jobs in Kosova. In Vienna, a

    spokeswoman for the OSCE called "absolutely absurd" Yugoslav

    army charges that the four are "terrorists" sent to train

    Montenegrin police for an eventual confrontation with

    Belgrade, the "Guardian" reported. The arrests come shortly

    after the arrest of four Dutch citizens for allegedly

    plotting to kill Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 August 2000). PM

    [11] GENERAL CLARK URGES PLANNING FOR MONTENEGRO

    Observers note

    that the arrests are most likely part of a Milosevic campaign

    to stir up anti-Western sentiment in Serbia in the runup to

    the 24 September elections. That the latest arrests took

    place in Montenegro appears to be part of an effort to depict

    the Montenegrin leadership as a Western fifth column and to

    intimidate Podgorica. U.S. General Wesley Clark, who was

    NATO's supreme commander in Europe until recently, believes

    that Milosevic will try to move against the Montenegrin

    leadership at some point in the next few months when the U.S.

    public is absorbed in the November general elections, the

    "Guardian" reported on 4 August. He called on the White House

    and Pentagon to begin now to position aircraft in the region

    and to line up political support from allies. PM

    [12] YUGOSLAV ARMY SHUTS SOME MONTENEGRIN BORDER CROSSINGS

    The

    army has set up checkpoints and closed frontier crossings at

    several places along the Montenegrin-Bosnian border, RFE/RL's

    South Slavic Service reported on 3 August. The latest action

    is part of an ongoing series of cat-and-mouse moves that the

    army has made in recent months in an effort to assert its

    authority vis-a-vis the Montenegrin police and border guards.

    PM

    [13] ALBRIGHT: SERBIA'S MILOSEVIC 'RUNNING SCARED'

    U.S. Secretary

    of State Madeleine Albright said in Washington on 3 August

    that Milosevic is "running scared and consequently taking

    actions that are illegal and changing [Yugoslavia's]

    constitution to suit his purposes and trying to be

    provocative," AP reported. She added that "the important

    thing is for the opposition to solidify, present a single

    [presidential] candidate, and get on with the elections....

    There is no doubt in anybody's mind that this election is

    going to take place...and that it will take place in unfair

    circumstances where the media is under control and the

    opposition is being intimidated," Albright noted. PM

    [14] DRASKOVIC TRYING TO PRESSURE SERBIAN OPPOSITION?

    Former

    General Momcilo Perisic of the Movement for Democratic Serbia

    said on 3 August that the Serbian Renewal Movement's Vuk

    "Draskovic asked [other opposition leaders] to join him in

    boycotting parliamentary elections and demanded that we

    support his candidate for the federal president. In return,

    he would work with us in the local polls," Perisic added.

    Reuters reported that Draskovic's presidential candidate

    could be Vojislav Mihajlovic, who is mayor of Belgrade and a

    senior SPO official. SPO leaders will hold a strategy meeting

    on 6 August. PM

    [15] THREE SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINALS ESCAPE FROM JAIL IN KOSOVA

    Three unnamed Serbs facing trial on charges of war crimes and

    genocide escaped from a hospital in Mitrovica in the early

    hours of 4 August, dpa reported. Doctors with the UN's

    civilian administration in Kosova (UNMIK) had recently

    recommended that the men be sent to the hospital. UNMIK said

    in a press release that an investigation is under way. PM

    [16] KOSOVA MODERATE PARTY SLAMS SHOOTING OF TWO LEADERS

    Ibrahim

    Rugova's Democratic League of Kosova said in a statement on 4

    August that "attacks against party activists and members are

    intensifying. As the preparations for the [October] elections

    are under way, this fact proves that authors of these attacks

    are against democratic elections, against stability, and

    against the independence and future of Kosova," AP reported

    from Prishtina. The statement referred to the recent

    shootings of two local LDK officials in separate incidents

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 August 2000). PM

    [17] U.S. TO REOPEN VISA SECTION IN TIRANA EMBASSY

    U.S.

    Ambassador to Albania Joseph Limprecht said in Tirana on 4

    August that the visa section of the embassy will reopen on 5

    September. He said that the decision to reopen the facility

    reflects the growing stability in Albania. The visa section

    was closed in 1998 in an effort to tighten security against a

    possible terrorist threat from the Middle East. PM

    [18] THE LAST YUGOSLAV?

    The Zagreb daily "Vecernji list" reported

    on 3 August that Croatian police have completed a 16-month

    investigation of a major cigarette-smuggling ring headed by

    Marko Milosevic, who is the son of Slobodan. The young

    Milosevic, who is well known as a "businessman," takes

    cigarettes from the Croatian factory in Rovinj and gets them

    to Belgrade via Slovenia and via the Montenegrin port of Bar.

    Milosevic junior's firm is based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The

    paper added that young Milosevic controls virtually the

    entire illicit cigarette trade in Serbia. PM

    [19] ROMANIA'S LIBERALS ISOLATING FORMER ALLIES...

    National

    Liberal Party (PNL) negotiators are meeting on 4 August with

    representatives of the Union of Rightist Forces to discuss

    forging an electoral alliance. On 3 August, PNL

    representatives met with members of the civic organization

    represented in the disintegrating Democratic Convention of

    Romania (CDR) and with Victor Ciorbea, leader of the

    Christian Democratic National Alliance (ANCD), in what

    observers say is an attempt to isolate the National Peasant

    Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) from its prospective

    allies in a restructured CDR that would not include the PNL.

    Ciorbea said the meeting has "laid the foundation of setting

    up a Liberal Democratic Alliance." He also said the ANCD

    rejects the PNTCD demand that their two parties merge.

    Constantin Ticu-Dumitrescu, who represented the civic

    organizations, said the forging of "a new political

    structure" capable of opposing the "slide to the Left," is

    now feasible. MS

    [20] ...AND CONTINUE FEELERS WITH MELESCANU'S PARTY

    Representatives of the PNL and the Alliance for Romania (APR)

    on 3 August agreed that contacts between negotiating teams of

    their parties will continue at "expert level" with the

    purpose of forging "a pre-electoral or a post-electoral

    alliance." APR leader Teodor Melescanu said if the two

    parties prove unable to agree on a joint presidential

    candidate they might support their best-placed candidate in

    the second runoff of the presidential contest. Also on 3

    August, PNL First Deputy Chairman Valeriu Stoica and Iasi

    Mayor Constantin Simirad, leader of the Party of Moldovans,

    agreed to merge their formations. The agreement is to be

    approved by extraordinary congresses of the two parties, both

    due to be held on 18 August. MS

    [21] EU RAPPORTEUR SAYS ROMANIA'S ROAD TO UNION 'LONG AND

    DIFFICULT'

    Baroness Emma Nicholson, EU rapporteur on Romania

    in the negotiations for the country's accession to the union,

    said in her report that Romania's road to joining the

    organization is "long, difficult, and full of hindrances,"

    Romanian Radio reported on 3 August. Among the main obstacles

    mentioned are the situation of abandoned children in that

    country, corruption in its public administration, Romania's

    economic situation, and the slow progress on privatization.

    The report emphasizes, however, that Romania's geographic

    position is important to stabilizing the region and that

    Bucharest meets all political criteria for joining the EU. It

    also says Romania has "taken all necessary measures for

    national minorities to benefit from all rights stipulated in

    EU Council documents." MS

    [22] ROMANIAN ROMANY ORGANIZATION TO SUE STATE

    The CRISS Romany

    non-governmental organization on 3 August said it will sue

    the state for discriminating against Roma, AFP reported. The

    organization said a state-funded employment agency in

    Bucharest advertises job vacancies carrying the warning "Roma

    need not apply." MS

    [23] OSCE DOUBTS RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL BY END 2002

    In an interview

    with the BBC, William Hill, head of the OSCE mission to

    Moldova, said Russia will not--due to "technical reasons"--be

    able to abide by its pledge to end the withdrawal of troops

    from the Transdniester region by 2002, as agreed at the

    OSCE's 1999 Istanbul summit. Hill says that in order for the

    withdrawal to be completed by then, Russia must start it in

    autumn 2000 "at latest," Romanian Radio reported. Also on 3

    August, Vasile Sturza, chairman of the Moldovan special

    commission for the settlement of the Transdniester conflict,

    told MoldPress that all Moldovan, Russian, and

    Transdniestrian troops in the security zone separating the

    two former belligerents must be replaced by OSCE troops. MS

    [24] BULGARIAN PREMIER DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN BUGGING SCANDAL

    Prime Minister Ivan Kostov told a special session of the

    parliament on 3 August that his cabinet never ordered

    special surveillance means to be used against Prosecutor-

    General Nikola Ilichev, legislators or magistrates (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 July and 2 August 2000 ). Kostov

    called for a "national consensus" to eliminate once and

    forever the surveillance methods of the communist era.

    "This practice of the past should forever remain in the

    past," he said. Interior Minister Emanuil Yordanov repeated

    that the check conducted by his ministry found that the

    listening devices were planted in 1994 in Ilichev's and the

    other apartments in which they were discovered last week,

    but that they were never used, AP reported. The legislators

    authorized their parliamentary National Security Committee

    to investigate the use of special surveillance means and

    requested stronger civilian control over the Interior

    Ministry. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [25] DEATH OF A CHECHEN PRAGMATIST

    By Liz Fuller

    Of the quantities of journalistic and analytical

    materials devoted to Russia's 1994-1996 war in Chechnya, one

    of the most invaluable is Yusup Soslambekov's 100-page

    compendium "Chechnya -- The View From Inside."

    Published in 1995, before the signing by then Russian

    Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed and then Chechen

    army chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov of the August 1996

    ceasefire agreement and the subsequent Khasavyurt accord,

    Soslambekov's work comprises a chronological series of essays

    devoted to political developments in Chechnya from 1990-1994,

    together with a 1993 draft treaty on Chechen-Russian

    relations, and three successive peace plans drafted in 1995.

    Those materials are important and useful for several

    reasons. Soslambekov was a key political actor in Chechnya in

    his own right as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission

    of the Chechen parliament elected in October 1991.

    (Soslambekov split with then President Dzhokhar Dudaev in the

    early summer of 1993 after the latter used force to dissolve

    the parliament, of which Soslambekov was subsequently elected

    chairman.) Soslambekov participated in talks with Moscow in

    1991-1993 and was acquainted with all the Chechen and Russian

    political figures who collectively contributed to the

    escalation in tensions that resulted in the Russian invasion

    in December 1994.

    His insights into the evolving confrontation are

    fascinating: he reveals, for instance, that in the late

    summer of 1991 then Russian Supreme Soviet speaker Ruslan

    Khasbulatov wanted to install his hand-picked team of Chechen

    leaders, but Russian President Boris Yeltsin preferred

    Dudaev. That choice proved fateful because, as Soslambekov

    writes "The methods chosen by Dudaev to attain real

    independence ran counter to common sense. Rather than taking

    as his guidelines the norms of international law, from day

    one of his term as president he chose the path of

    confrontation...in regulating relations with the Russian

    Federation." He attributes Dudaev's initial popularity among

    the Chechen people to his honesty and the fact that he was a

    member neither of the former Communist Party nomenklatura nor

    the wealthy Chechen business community in Moscow.

    Despite his avowed opposition to Dudaev, Soslambekov

    remained committed to achieving independence for Chechnya,

    but at the minimum cost in human life and suffering and with

    the maximum effort to reduce tensions between Chechnya and

    Moscow and to avoid destabilizing the neighboring North

    Caucasus republics. To that end, he drafted a treaty "On the

    basis of relations between the Chechen Republic and the

    Russian Federation," whereby Moscow recognized Chechnya's

    independence, but the territorial integrity of the Russian

    Federation was nonetheless preserved.

    Soslambekov argued repeatedly that neither the Russians

    nor the Chechens could achieve a military victory in

    Chechnya. His draft proposals for resolving the conflict,

    based on the phased approach, all envisaged a cessation of

    hostilities, the creation of a provisional Chechen

    government, and the conduct of a referendum in which the

    republic's population would be invited to choose between

    independence for Chechnya; a confederation with Russia;

    "associated membership" of the Russian Federation; and the

    same degree of sovereignty within the Russian Federation as

    enjoyed by the Republic of Tatarstan.

    Soslambekov's proposed model for an independent

    democratic Chechen state is Switzerland: he points to

    similarities in mentality and traditions between two small

    and fiercely independent mountain peoples. He offers concise,

    but valuable comments on the relevance of such factors as

    Chechnya's teyp (clan) system, Islam in Chechnya, and the

    illicit export of oil.

    However apposite and rational they may have been,

    Soslambekov's proposals were routinely ignored by a Russian

    leadership that proceeded to launch a new war last summer.

    The similarities between the present situation and that in

    1995 are depressing: the Chechen president is branded as a

    criminal and thus not considered a valid partner for

    negotiations; the military situation is close to a stalemate;

    and the Chechen administration installed by Moscow has only

    minimal control over events on the ground.

    As Maskhadov's designated envoy for liaison with the

    Russian leadership, Soslambekov was ideally qualified to

    craft a new peace settlement had Moscow demonstrated any

    interest in doing so. But he was gunned down on a Moscow

    street on 18 July, and died nine days later, without

    regaining consciousness, at the age of 44.

    04-08-00


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


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