|Thursday, 23 May 2013|
RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 82, 01-04-27
From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>
Vol. 5, No. 82, 27 April 2001
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
[C] END NOTE
[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
 CIS COLLECTIVE SECURITY GROUP MEETS IN YEREVANRepresentatives of the six CIS countries that signed the 1992 Collective Security Treaty -- Armenia, Russia, and four other post-Soviet states -- met in Yerevan to plan for the 25 May summit of their presidents, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. They discussed creating rapid reaction forces to counter Islamist threats in Central Asia. PG
 GEORGIAN-TURKISH MILITARY TIES DISTURB ARMENIAArmenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said that "Turkish-Georgian military cooperation causes serious alarm in Yerevan because this may considerably upset the regional balance," Prime-News reported on 26 April. He said that Georgia's actions in this regard may effectively make it "a participant in the policy of isolating Armenia now being pursued by Turkey and Azerbaijan." PG
 ANTI-KOCHARIAN LEAFLET CONFISCATED AT ARMENIAN AIRPORTCustoms officials seized a 500-kilogram package of pamphlets containing attacks on President Robert Kocharian, the Snark news agency reported on 26 April. PG
 ARMENIANS PROTEST YEREVAN'S PRIVATIZATION PLANSApproximately 1,000 people demonstrated in Yerevan on 26 April against the government's plan to privatize the country's national power utilities, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Meanwhile, the Armenian Energy Ministry announced that Yerevan has resumed the export of electric power to Iran, the Snark news agency reported the same day. PG
 ARMENIA REJECTS AZERBAIJANI RULE IN KARABAKHIn an interview with Reuters released on 26 April, Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian said that Yerevan "will not accept any subjugation of Nagorno-Karabakh" to Baku. He said, however, that Armenia is prepared to consider "anything on the level of horizontal ties." PG
 DRAFT-DODGING IN AZERBAIJAN NOT INCREASINGColonel Aliaga Huseynov, the country's military commissar, said that concerns about new fighting over Karabakh has not led to an increase in draft-dodging as some media outlets have suggested, "Bilik Dunyasi" reported on 24 April. PG
 U.S. CRITICIZES AZERBAIJAN FOR HANDLING OF RECENT DEMONSTRATIONU.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said that "the government of Azerbaijan should respect its citizens' rights to freedom of assembly," Turan reported on 26 April. Reeker's comments were in reference to the dispersal by the police of a 21 April demonstration in which both demonstrators and officers were hurt. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani officials closed down a new website that condemned Baku officials and opposition leaders as being criminals, according to a statement released by the Milli Istiglal Party on 26 April. PG
 IRANIAN TV DENIES BROADCASTING ANTI-AZERBAIJANI PROGRAMSAmin Sadiqi, the editor in chief of Iran's Sahar TV, has denied broadcasting anti-Azerbaijani programs, "525 gazet" reported on 26 April. Meanwhile, on the same day, Turan reported that several Iranian newspapers have criticized Tehran's harsh policies toward provinces in which Azerbaijanis live. And in a shoot-out at the Azerbaijani-Iranian border on 24 April, an Azerbaijani border guard died when armed Iranians attempted to cross the border illegally, ANS television reported on 26 April. PG
 GEORGIAN COURT ORDERS COMPENSATION FOR ILLEGAL ARRESTA Tbilisi court has ordered the National Security Ministry to compensate Giorgi Ninidze for his illegal arrest, "Rezonansi" reported on 26 April. Ninidze's lawyer said that this was the first such case in the republic. PG
 CASH SHORTAGE HURTS GEORGIAN BORDER GUARDSValerii Chkeidze, the head of the Georgian state border guards, told Prime- News on 26 April that Georgia's ability to guard its borders is threatened by a cash shortfall that is certain to occur when the U.S. stops supplying fuel to his department. PG
 TURKIC SUMMIT OPENS IN ISTANBULThe seventh summit of Turkic-speaking states opened in Istanbul on 26 April, Turan reported. Leaders stressed the importance of Turkic languages and Turkic cooperation, but Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev and Uzbekistan Parliamentary speaker Erkin Halilov addressed the meeting not in their native languages or in Turkish but in Russian, the news service said. PG
 KAZAKHSTAN WON'T USE BAKU-CEYHAN ROUTE UNTIL 2005Kazakhstan's deputy prime minister, Vladimir Shkolnik, told ITAR-TASS on 26 April that his country will only begin to use the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline system in 2005-2007. He said that Astana wants to promote the development of multiple pipelines out of the region. PG
 KYRGYZSTAN DENOUNCES SECRET ACCORD WITH UZBEKISTANPrime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev told RFE/RL on 26 April that Bishkek has already sent a note to Tashkent denouncing a secret memorandum signed by the two countries on 26 February. Bakiev said that the document is only a statement of intentions rather than a formal agreement and that Bishkek has no intention of agreeing on the establishment of a corridor to the Uzbek enclave of Sokh. He added that Kyrgyzstan cannot accept the strip of land offered by Tashkent as compensation for the proposed corridor. PG
 KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS LANGUAGE BILLThe Kyrgyzstan government has withdrawn a controversial state language bill from parliament, Interfax reported on 26 April. The measure would have required officials and others to be tested for proficiency in Kyrgyz. PG
 KYRGYZ DEFENSE MINISTRY SAYS NEW DRAFTEES WON'T BE SENT TO FIGHTDefense Ministry mobilization chief Boris Yugai told Interfax on 26 April that Bishkek will not send any new draftees to participate in any future fighting in the south of the country. PG
 RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS REINFORCED IN TAJIKISTANLieutenant General Aleksandr Manilov, the head of the Russian Federal Border Guard Service, said on 25 April that Moscow plans to reinforce its contingent of border guards along the Tajik-Afghan border, Interfax reported on 25 April. Meanwhile, the Moscow press was full of articles suggesting that there will be major fighting in Central Asia this summer between government forces and Islamic insurgents. PG
 UZBEK POLICE DETAIN ISLAMIST GROUP MEMBERSUzbek Interior Ministry officials on 25 April arrested members of the banned Hezb-e Tahrir Islamist group, Uzbek television reported. The group was operating a printing press to prepare Islamist literature, the station said. PG
[B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
 MONTENEGRIN, SERBIAN LEADERS MEETMontenegrin President Milo Djukanovic and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic met in Belgrade on 26 April, Reuters reported. It is not clear how long the meeting lasted or what they discussed (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 27 April 2001). Elsewhere, Djindjic said that he is willing to discuss all issues with the Montenegrin leaders except the question of internationally recognized statehood, "Vesti" reported. He stressed that there can be only one state with a seat in the UN. Djukanovic wants Serbia and Montenegro to be separate, internationally recognized states, each with its own seat in the UN. For his part, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica called for talks between Belgrade and Podgorica. Djukanovic has ruled out negotiations with Kostunica because Montenegro does not recognize the federal government. Podgorica argues that the federal government is based on legislation illegally introduced by former President Slobodan Milosevic. "NIN" reported on 27 April that the Belgrade authorities are awaiting new political developments within Montenegro. "Die Presse" reported that some leading government and opposition politicians in Montenegro are considering holding new elections. PM
 BELGRADE PRESSURES UN ADMINISTRATION IN KOSOVAThe Yugoslav authorities said in a statement to the state-run Tanjug news agency on 26 April that they want an "urgent meeting" between Prime Minister Zoran Zizic and Hans Haekkerup, who heads the UN civilian administration in Kosova. The official reason is to discuss the UN's recent establishment of tax-collection points on the Kosova-Serbian border for collecting revenues on alcohol, cigarettes, fuel, and luxury goods (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 April 2001). Serbia set up customs points on its side of the border in February. But Belgrade also wants the meeting "to fully examine the situation in Kosovo...and [make] joint efforts to stabilize the situation and prevent a spillover of the crisis and terrorism from Kosovo to other areas and states in the region." The Kostunica administration is seeking to return Serbian control to Kosova with the support of the international community (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 April 2001). PM
 UN'S HAEKKERUP: MINORITIES WILL BE WELL REPRESENTED IN KOSOVAR LEGISLATUREMeeting in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson on 26 April, Haekkerup said that ethnic minorities will be well represented in the parliament to be elected in Kosova later this year (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 2 March and 20 April 2001). Haekkerup argued that "there's overrepresentation of minorities. Actually, [according to] what the draft [for the future legislative assembly of Kosova] looks like now, out of 120 members, 100 will be elected on a proportional system, but the last 20 will be distributed as 10 to Kosovo Serbs and 10 to other minorities. Also, the IDPs [internally displaced persons] who fled Kosovo in the last two years and now live in Serbia will have the possibility of voting in the elections, " RFE/RL reported. PM
 NATO'S ROBERTSON WARNS KOSOVARS AGAINST INDEPENDENCELord Robertson said in Brussels on 26 April that "the Kosovar Albanians do not disguise their own ambition to create an independent Kosovo, but they are reminded all the time that we operate within [UN Security Council] resolution 1244 and we will not deviate from that in any direction." Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook made a similar statement recently (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 April 2001). Robertson added that "the NATO Council has stressed that the ethnic Albanian community [in Kosova] must isolate those who have chosen violence as the instrument to pursue their ambitions. Those who have opted for violence should, however, be under no illusion: NATO and the whole international community will not tolerate violence," RFE/RL reported. PM
 KOSOVAR LEADER: WHY DO DEMOCRACIES DENY MAJORITY RULE IN KOSOVA?Alush Gashi, who is an adviser to moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova, said in Washington on 26 April that "we will do our best to be a good neighbor, but there is no way we can be forced to accept Belgrade's rule any more." Gashi stressed that independence is the only alternative: "Even if [Haekkerup says] no, we don't take no for no. We have to push through a democratic process to change all existing no's on a referendum... We have to have, first of all, a timetable for [Kosova's] final status... We will offer arguments on a daily basis until we achieve our democratic goal," Reuters reported. Gashi added: "We are a little bit surprised that democratic countries are reluctant to accept the will of the people, so we will continue to work on this issue." PM
 SERBIAN COURT KEEPS MILOSEVIC IN PRISONA Belgrade district court ruled on 26 April that Milosevic must stay in jail for at least another 60 days while charges against him are being investigated, Reuters reported. PM
 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: DOMESTIC TRIALS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE HAGUEHuman Rights Watch said in a statement in New York on 26 April that the announcement by the Yugoslav army that it has charged 183 of its men for war-related offensives is a positive development but no substitute for sending Milosevic and other war criminals to The Hague (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 April 2001). Holly Cartner of Human Rights Watch stressed that "while we would welcome fair and independent trials of these lower- ranking soldiers in Belgrade, the international community should not accept this as an alternative to the swift transfer of Slobodan Milosevic and other indictees to the custody [of the tribunal]." PM
 POWELL TO MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT: GREATER ALBANIA IS YOURS TO PREVENTIn Washington on 26 April, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told visiting Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski that integrating Macedonia's ethnic Albanians into that country's social and political life is vital if Albanian nationalism in the Balkans as a whole is to be defused. Powell told reporters: "There are people in the region who have never given up the idea of a Greater Albania, and that is a very destabilizing concept. So my message to President Trajkovski was that he has to work very hard with the political elements within his governing coalition and with political forces within Macedonia to reach out to their ethnic-Albanian population and make sure those Albanians understand they are part of Macedonia," RFE/RL reported. PM
 BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY CALLS FOR DIALOGUEThe joint presidency called for a "dialogue" of representatives of government, political parties, NGOs, religious communities, and the international community, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 26 April. The presidency said that members of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) are welcome provided they have not taken part in recent "antistate activity," which presumably means the attempt to revive the Herzegovinian para-state. Elsewhere in Sarajevo, representatives of international organizations criticized what they called a campaign of pressure by hard-liners in the HDZ against moderate Croats, who do not support the para-state. PM
 CROATIA BACKS MODERATES IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINAIn Zagreb on 26 April, Croatian President Stipe Mesic said that the key to ending ethnic tensions in Bosnia-Herzegovina is to enforce the Bosnian Constitutional Court's decision guaranteeing Croats, Muslims, and Serbs full legal equality throughout the republic, "Novi List" reported. Elsewhere in Zagreb, Prime Minister Ivica Racan and Foreign Minister Tonino Picula met with Herzegovinian leaders. Picula said that Croatia favors moderate solutions to Bosnia's problems and the full equality of all three peoples, Deutsche Welle's Bosnian Service reported. PM
 BOSNIAN FEDERATION SEEKS TO CALM SARAJEVO SERBSOfficials of the mainly Muslim and Croat federation are seeking to calm fears of Serbs in those parts of Dobrinja slated to pass from the jurisdiction of the Republika Srpska to that of the federation, Reuters reported from Sarajevo on 26 April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 April 2001). The Serbs have been promised that there will be no arrests of individual Serbs for their role in the 1992-1995 war. Furthermore, no Serbs will be evicted for one month from flats legally belonging to Muslims or Croats. Police from all three ethnic groups will patrol jointly in unmarked cars. Elsewhere, High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch appealed to Bosnian Serb leaders not to increase tensions by starting a lawsuit over the status of Dobrinja. PM
 VERHEUGEN ON ROMANIA'S EU ACCESSION CHANCES...Speaking before the Romanian Parliament, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said on 26 April that the EU wants to see evidence of short-term economic reforms, Romanian media reported. Although Romania fulfils the political criteria for enlargement, it still needs to take economic measures including reducing inflation, strengthening financial discipline, and privatizing state-owned companies with large debts. Verheugen said "there are no doubts Romania lags behind in the integration process," but added that Romania is "not excluded" from the process. Premier Adrian Nastase asked the commissioner to analyze Bucharest's request for financial aid intended to help secure Romania's borders, which would thus facilitate the lifting of visa requirements for Romanian citizens visiting EU member countries. ZsM
 ...AND ON THE ROMANY MINORITYVerheugen also said in a press conference in Bucharest on 26 April that "the Roma minority could be called an international minority" and that discrimination of Roma is not related to Romania's political system, Mediafax reported. Verheugen added that discrimination against the minority group is due to "mentalities and traditions." He said the EU cannot expect candidate countries to solve this problem by the time they are supposed to become full members. Verheugen expressed hope that the Romanian government will soon apply a strategy for solving the discrimination problem that was adopted by the previous government. ZsM
 CHISINAU, TIRASPOL PARLIAMENT LEADERS ON BILATERAL RELATIONSMoldovan Parliament Chairwoman Eugenia Ostapiuc and Tiraspol Supreme Soviet Chairman Grigorii Marakutsa discussed in Chisinau on 26 April the prospects for solving the conflict over the breakaway region, Flux reported. Ostapiuc said the Moldovan Communists' victory in the February elections will speed up negotiations, while Marakutsa said the first steps toward cooperation should be made in the economic field. Marakutsa added that the parties have agreed to set up joint parliamentary commissions that will work on finding a solution to the conflict. ZsM
 BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY MUST IMPROVE CONDITIONS FOR ROMAPetar Stoyanov said on 27 April in Sofia that in order for Bulgaria to meet EU standards the country must do more to integrate its Romany citizens into society, BTA reported. Stoyanov, speaking at the international conference on the desegregation of Roma in Bulgarian schools, said that while there is no official discrimination in Bulgaria, there is too much "hidden discrimination." He added that the Romany community has had the hardest time of all Bulgarian citizens in adapting to changes in the transition from the Communist era. Stoyanov also praised the integration of Romany students that is going on in the northwestern town of Vidin, saying it has been a success. PB
 BULGARIAN POLICE BREAK UP COUNTERFEITING RINGBulgarian police said they have arrested a gang of forgers producing fake U.S. dollars, Greek drachma, and German marks, AFP reported on 26 April. Police said they impounded a printing press in Plovdiv that had been used to print the money and arrested 14 Bulgarians in the operation. Police said more arrests in other countries tied to this criminal ring could be made as well. The forgers also made fake passports that would have given the bearer phony French, Spanish, Israeli, Greek, Croat, Czech, or Macedonian citizenship. PB
[C] END NOTE
 NO CONFIDENCE IN UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTERBy Askold Krushelnycky
An alliance of communists and political parties loyal to Ukrainian oligarchs on 26 April carried the majority in the parliament in a no- confidence vote against Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko.
In two votes, 263 deputies out of the 450-strong parliament determined they did not have confidence in Yushchenko. The prime minister then quit his post.
The anti-Yushchenko alliance had accused the government of failing to improve the economy and leading the country to ruin.
Yushchenko promised his supporters he would fight on for the issues he believes are important to ensure democracy and economic prosperity.
He thanked his supporters in parliament and around 15,000 supporters outside parliament -- the largest demonstration Ukraine has seen since pro- independence rallies held in the late 1980s.
Yushchenko told them he would not abandon politics: "I am not going away from politics. I am going to return. I thank you again for your attention and support."
The communists had been unhappy throughout Yushchenko's 16-month tenure in office with his market reform and privatization policies and his pro- Western stance.
The "oligarch" parties turned against Yushchenko for taking action against corruption and reducing moneymaking opportunities for many of them.
The vote against Yushchenko came despite an upturn in Ukraine's economy and popular moves by his government, such as paying millions of dollars in back pay and pensions owed to those depending on state funds.
Earlier this week, Yushchenko said the desire of some oligarchs to continue lining their pockets and to secure their positions in parliamentary elections scheduled for next year is the real issue rather than the government's economic record.
"The reasons for this (dismissal) are the economic considerations and interests of groups of different (criminal) big shots in Ukrainian politics, " Yushchenko said. "Those interests have become particularly aggressive recently because of approaching parliamentary elections."
After the vote, Yushchenko thanked the crowd of supporters who had rallied outside the parliament building.
He said the government had been captured by "a group which stands against the national interests" and said he would stand with the people in combating the forces which had thrown him out of office.
Ivan Lozowy, the director of the Institute for Statehood and Democracy, an independent Ukrainian think tank, said Yushchenko's removal may be the beginning of more turmoil in Ukraine. He said people realize the popular will is being ignored by parliament and that could lead to a feeling that direct action at street level is the only way to press for changes.
"We will understand the significance of this event in a little while. The removal of Yushchenko, as it happened, opens the doors to a renewed political revolution," he said.
Many observers believe Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was instrumental in Yushchenko's removal. Kuchma has allies among the oligarch parties and it is believed he could have tipped the balance in Yushchenko's favor if he had really wanted to do so.
Earlier in the week, Kuchma expressed support for Yushchenko and in the evening of 25 April he held a meeting between him and political party leaders ostensibly to broker a compromise.
However, according to sources close to Yushchenko (who were unwilling to be named), Yushchenko refused to make compromises with his opponents and to give them a share in government by offering them portfolios in his administration.
Kuchma is himself the target of mass demonstrations because of accusations that he was involved in the disappearance of an opposition journalist and is blamed for the widespread corruption gripping Ukraine. He is known to be unhappy about Yushchenko's popularity in opinion polls, his enthusiasm for market reform, and the former premier's Western leanings.
Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty