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Voice of America, 99-11-23

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] CLINTON - KOSOVO (S) BY DEBORAH TATE (AVIANO AFB, ITALY)
  • [02] CLINTON KOSOVO BY DEBORAH TATE (S) (PRISTINA)
  • [03] CLINTON KOSOVO (L) BY DEBORAH TATE (CAMP BONSTEEL)
  • [04] CLINTON TRIP WRAP (L ONLY) (AVIANO AFB, ITALY)
  • [05] TURKEY / ISLAM BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (GOLCUK)
  • [06] CZECH / SLOVAKIA BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)
  • [07] THE IRISH PEACE ACCORD REVITALIZED BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [08] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [09] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] CLINTON - KOSOVO (S) BY DEBORAH TATE (AVIANO AFB, ITALY)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256483
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: President Clinton delivered a message of tolerance to the people of Serbia's Kosovo province as he concluded a 10-day, five-nation tour of Europe. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Aviano Air Force Base, Italy, where the President's plane made a brief refueling stop on its way home. Text: Mr. Clinton received a rousing welcome from ethnic Albanians who see him as a liberator of Kosovo for his role in the NATO bombing campaign that forced Serb troops from the province in June. But the President brought a sober message to Kosovo - urging ethnic Albanians to halt revenge attacks against Serbs. He said the future of Kosovo depends on it.

    // CLINTON ACT //

    Will you be focused on hatred and past wrongs and getting even, or will you be thinking about good schools for your children, new homes for them, new businesses, the effort to create self- government?

    // END ACT //

    Earlier, Mr. Clinton met with U-N peacekeeping and reconstruction officials, and with Serb and ethnic- Albanian Kosovar members of a U-N-sponsored transitional council. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DAT/RAE 23-Nov-1999 13:29 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1829 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] CLINTON KOSOVO BY DEBORAH TATE (S) (PRISTINA)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256460
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: President Clinton is in Kosovo for a brief visit to access how peace is taking hold five months after NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia which forced Serb troops from from the province. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Pristina.

    TEXT: Mr. Clinton is meeting with U-N officials to access the progress of the international peacekeeping operation and the effort to rebuild civil society. He is also using to hold talks with ethnic Albanian and Serb leaders who are members of a transitional council set up by U-N officials. The high point of his visit will be a speech to the people of Kosovo in a town know by its Albanian name, Ferizaj or in Serbian as Urosevac. Concerned by a series of revenge attacks against Serbs by ethnic Albanians in the aftermath of NATO's bombing campaign, Mr. Clinton's message will be one of tolerance. (signed)
    NEB/ CB-T / WD 23-Nov-1999 04:22 AM EDT (23-Nov-1999 0922 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] CLINTON KOSOVO (L) BY DEBORAH TATE (CAMP BONSTEEL)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256470
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: President Clinton has delivered a message of hope and tolerance to the people of Serbia's Kosovo Province. The president assessed the situation five- months after the NATO bombing campaign over Yugoslavia ended with a withdrawal of Serb troops from the province. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the U-S military headquarters in Kosovo.

    TEXT: Mr. Clinton received a tumultuous welcome from several-thousand people who had gathered to hear him speak -- in a town known by its Albanian name Ferizaj or its Serb name Urosevac, 30-kilometers south of the provincial capitol Pristina. The president came to Kosovo to highlight the progress made since Serb troops pulled out and ethnic Albanians returned home. Mr. Clinton noted schools have opened and homes are being winterized, and the international community last week pledged another one-billion dollars to fund U-N operations in Kosovo. But he said much more needs to be done. In the wake of numerous revenge attacks on Serbs by ethnic Albanians since the NATO bombing ended, Mr. Clinton underscored the need for tolerance.

    /// CLINTON ACT ///

    No one can force you to forgive what was done to you. But you must try.

    /// END ACT ///

    That was the only line in the Presidents speech that did not receive applause. Underscoring the challenge of creating a multi-ethnic Kosovo. Many ethnic Albanians say they do not believe they can ever live side by side with Serbs again. The President told his audience of ethnic Albanians -- we won that war, but only you can win the peace. Earlier, Mr. Clinton held separate meetings with officials leading the U-N peacekeeping mission and civil reconstruction, and with Kosovar leaders -- including both Serbs and ethnic Albanians who serve on a U-N sponsored transitional council. According to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Serb Orthodox Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic said freedom has not been returned to the Serbs, many of whom have left Kosovo fearing reprisal attacks. The Bishop told the president Serbs continue to be killed and kidnapped, and that as many as 80 Serb churches have been destroyed. Ethnic-Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova responded that there is no organized campaign against the Serbs. He acknowledged the need to rebuild and establish a multi-ethnic society, according to Mr. Berger. The leader of the Party of Democratic Progress in Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, agreed on the importance of having a tolerant atmosphere. The National Security Advisor said those running the U-N operations told the president progress is being made re-building schools, returning electric power to the region, and establishing a civilian police force. But he said they say there is still an unacceptable level of violence in the province. At the end of his eight-hour visit to Kosovo, Mr. Clinton thanked U-S troops who are taking part in the peacekeeping mission. He also joined them for dinner to celebrate the upcoming American holiday, Thanksgiving. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DAT/LTD-T/RAE 23-Nov-1999 10:41 AM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1541 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] CLINTON TRIP WRAP (L ONLY) (AVIANO AFB, ITALY)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    YLINE=DEBORAH TATE NUMBER=2-256488
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: President Clinton is returning (has returned) to Washington after a 10-day, five-nation tour of Europe focusing on efforts on bring peace and stability to southeastern Europe. Correspondent Deborah Tate has a look back at the trip from Aviano Air Force Base in northern Italy, where the president's plane made a refueling stop on the way home.

    TEXT: Mr. Clinton flew home after a brief visit to Kosovo, where he urged ethnic Albanians - who have been blamed for a series of revenge attacks on Serbs since the end of NATO's bombing campaign over Yugoslavia - to embrace tolerance. He said the future of Kosovo is in their hands.

    /// Clinton Act ///

    You cheered for us when we came in because when you were being oppressed, we stood by you. And we exercised military power to defeat the aggression of Mr. Milosevic. We won the war. But listen, only you can win the peace.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Clinton believes bringing peace to Kosovo is an important step to bringing stability to the Balkans. But he says it is not the only step. A democratic transformation in Serbia is also key, he said in a speech at his stop in Athens, Greece.

    /// Clinton Act ///

    We have to strengthen the forces of democracy in Serbia and pave the way for Serbia's eventual integration into southeastern Europe and the European community as a whole. Greece can lead the revitalization of the economy and the political and civic life of southeastern Europe, but the work will never be complete until Serbia is a part of the process.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Clinton's visit to Athens - overshadowed by violent demonstrations against his Balkans policy, and in particular against the NATO bombing mission - was aimed at encouraging closer ties between Greece and its rival and fellow NATO member, Turkey. The president hopes the decision by both countries to come to each other's aid following earthquakes in each nation will lead to closer ties - a point he underscored at a meeting with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel during his stop in Ankara.

    /// Clinton Act ///

    I am so pleased by the recent improvement in relationships between Greece and Turkey, and why I think it is so important to continue to make progress there, because the difficulties between the two nations are small when compared to the benefits of cooperation and European integration - both to Turkey and to Greece.

    /// End Act ///

    He also expressed hope for a resolution of the Cyprus issue, and for progress in proximity talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders when they meet in New York on December third.

    /// Opt ///

    While in Turkey, Mr. Clinton visited victims of the devastating earthquake in the area hardest hit, Izmit, and pledged more U-S assistance.

    /// End Opt ///

    He also attended a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Istanbul, the only stop on his trip where agreements were signed. President Clinton and his European allies agreed to limit conventional forces in Europe, and on a separate issue, agreed that the international community can intervene in civil conflicts - a move with ramifications for the situation in Chechnya. Although Russian President Boris Yeltsin protested international criticism of his country's bloody military campaign in the breakaway region, his foreign minister, Igor Ivanov later agreed to allow an O-S-C-E representative to visit Chechnya. However, no date has been set for the trip. Mr. Clinton believes solving the Chechnya situation is also critical to bringing stability to southeastern Europe, and to the long-term goal of creating a Europe undivided, peaceful and free, as is the need to bring reforming Eastern European nations into Western European institutions - a point he made in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    /// Clinton Act ///

    We encourage the expansion of the European Union to this region, and we must and will keep NATO's doors open to those democratic nations who are able to meet their obligations.

    /// End Act ///

    Mr. Clinton returns to the White House to prepare for his next trip - to Seattle Washington early next week to open a summit of the World Trade Organization. (SIGNED) Neb/DAT/JP 23-Nov-1999 15:49 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 2049 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] TURKEY / ISLAM BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (GOLCUK)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44099
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Islamists in Turkey are seeking to broaden their appeal after suffering election defeats. But Amberin Zaman reports from Golcuk that their efforts are not having much success.

    TEXT: Hayriye Sezer is one of thousands of victims left homeless in the massive earthquake that devastated northwest Turkey on August 17. Mrs. Sezer says she is very satisfied by the relief efforts of the Turkish military.

    /// BEGIN SEZER ACT IN TURKISH, FADE UNDER ///

    But like other quake victims in this small town on the Marmara Sea Mrs. Sezer complains that, unlike the Turkish military, the Islamist-run municipality discriminates between those she terms its - followers and ordinary people like herself when distributing aid. Municipality officials from the Islam-based Virtue Party dismiss such claims as baseless. They are quick to point out that it is the governor's office that is in charge of coordinating relief efforts in the disaster zones. But many admit in private that their party's image has suffered greatly in recent years. Virtue is the party under which the Islamists regrouped after its predecessor, the Welfare Party, was banned by Turkey's Constitutional court last year. It was charged with seeking to introduce religious rule as part of a coalition government, which collapsed under pressure from the military in 1997. Welfare Party chairman and Turkey's first Islamist Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, was banned from politics on similar charges for five-years. Turkish prosecutors at the start of this year filed a case against Virtue to ban it as well; saying it was nothing more than an extension of the Welfare Party. In a bid to dispel that image, Virtue Party leader, Recai Kutan, an avuncular septuagenarian, has distanced himself from Mr. Erbakan's militant rhetoric, and has made overtures to the United States and Israel. The party also fielded women candidates to run for parliament for the first time. Indeed, many political observers predicted at the time that the Islamists would thrive on their setbacks and repeat their victory at the 1995 polls during general elections held last April. They were wrong. The party finished in third-place behind Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party and the ultra- nationalist National Action Party. During a meeting with reporters earlier this month in Istanbul, Mr. Erbakan insisted that the Islamist movement had made no mistakes whatsoever while in office. Flanked by leading Virtue lawmakers, Mr. Erbakan said the party had been victimized by what he called -- certain forces -- which he claimed were against the implementation of full democracy in Turkey.

    /// BEGIN ERBAKAN ACT IN TURKISH, FADE UNDER ///

    Mr. Erbakan said the movement's "enemies" - including Turkey's media barons and financial elite - feel threatened by the emergence of a new class of religiously conservative entrepreneurs from the country's Anatolian region. Many Virtue officials see things differently. They say that Mr. Erbakan's continuing hold over the party and what they describe as his confrontational style are the main reason why the party is not doing well. But few dare challenge Mr. Erbakan, who founded the Islamist movement more than three decades ago. Istanbul's former Islamist mayor, Tayyip Erdogan, was widely viewed as the only credible contender to Mr. Erbakan. But the highly popular mayor was banned from office and politics for life, and was briefly jailed last year, after reciting a poem deemed to call for a religious rebellion. Bulent Arinc, a Virtue Party lawmaker from the Western province of Manisa, is among Mr. Erdogan's allies. Composed mostly of a younger generation of party members, they are known as the - renovators -- within Virtue. A lawyer by training, Mr. Arinc recently declared that he would run for Virtue's chairmanship at a party convention planned for next year.

    /// BEGIN ARINC ACT IN TURKISH, FADE UNDER ///

    Mr. Arinc says Virtue needs to steer itself away from the margins of society and become a party that can be trusted by everyone, no matter their ideological leanings. But above all, he says, the party must be run democratically itself.

    /// BEGIN ARINC IN TURKISH, FADE UNDER ///

    In a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Erbakan, Mr. Arinc says Virtue must not be run by just one person. He says it should be run by a team of officials who are elected, rather than handpicked by a leader. Analysts say it is too early yet to predict just who will prevail for leadership of the Virtue Party, Mr. Erbakan or the so-called renovators. At a recent party convention in Ankara, the renovators's candidate won. But in Istanbul, the commercial capital, Mr. Erbakan's candidate was elected. Many analysts and party officials agree that the party will continue to scare away conservative voters so long as it remains under control of Mr. Erbakan. Those voters do not want to be governed by a party that appears to be at war with the Turkish state and within itself. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/GE/RAE 23-Nov-1999 14:17 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1917 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] CZECH / SLOVAKIA BY ALENA KENCLOVA (PRAGUE)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44096
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Seven years after splitting up, the Czech Republic and Slovakia say they will finalize the division of property from the former Czechoslovakia. Alena Kenclova in Prague reports the Czech Prime Minister travels to Bratislava on Wednesday for talks which both countries say will conclude the negotiations.

    TEXT: Governments of both the Czech Republic and Slovakia say only the final touches remain to be given to an agreement, but neither nation has revealed the details. At stake is, above all, a Czech claim to the equivalent of about 750-million dollars (25-billion crowns) from the division of the former State Bank of Czechoslovakia. Prague has said it would not release nine tons of Slovak gold until the bank claim, which was never recognized by Bratislava, has been settled. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and his Slovak counterpart, Mikulas Dzurinda, have met several times during the last year. They indicate the decision will be a political one. Czech media expect the settlement to be based on what has been called a "zero option," in which the Czech government will take over the bank claim and transfer the gold to Slovakia. The division of Czechoslovakia on New Year's Day in 1993 was quick and peaceful. Ninety-five percent of property was divided on the basis of a special law soon after the "divorce." But as the two countries drifted apart during the governments of Vaclav Klaus in the Czech Republic and Vladimir Meciar in Slovakia, politicians were reluctant to talk about the outstanding problems. Occasionally, Slovak politicians revived the issues for their own political aims. The property settlement is seen as a proof of improved Czech-Slovak relations under the Zeman and Dzurinda cabinets. The new governments, which came to power after elections in both countries last year, committed themselves to intensify the contacts again. Restored good relations with neighbors is one reason why Slovakia is getting a favorable reaction to its requests to be considered for early NATO and European Union membership, like other Central European countries. During a visit on Monday, U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright promised support to the Dzurinda government in what she called its "impressive reform agenda." Last month, the Czech Republic and Slovakia signed an agreement on exchanging stocks held by a Czech and a Slovak bank since the split. In a settlement of a minor but more emotional issue, Bratislava received from Prague in 1995 a valuable 14th century ten-panel altarpiece in exchange for Gothic paintings. (Signed)
    NEB/AK/JWH 23-Nov-1999 12:39 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1739 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] THE IRISH PEACE ACCORD REVITALIZED BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11566
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: The peace talks between Republicans and Unionists in Northern Ireland appear to be making progress again after grinding to a halt just months ago. After the renewed efforts of former U-S Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, the two sides appear closer than ever before to agreement on beginning a new, joint governing body and divesting themselves of weapons. The U-S press is being cautiously optimistic about this latest turn of events, and we get a sampling now from _____________ in today's Opinion Roundup.

    TEXT: Just months ago, the talks between the two sides appeared to have broken down completely when the Irish Republican Army refused to begin what is being called "decommissioning" - that is, handing over its guns and explosives. Without that move, the mostly Protestant Unionists, who favor continued Union with Britain, refused to begin meeting in the new Northern Ireland Assembly with Sinn Fein, the I-R-A's political arm. At that point British Prime Minister Tony Blair summoned Senator Mitchell back to Stormont Castle in Belfast for new talks to avert total collapse. Mr. Mitchell had been the negotiator of the famed Good Friday accord that had brought the two sides together two years ago. This time, Mr. Mitchell was able to work through the new differences and it appears that the process is about to move forward again. Even so, several U-S papers are cautioning that, as in the Middle East, anything is possible to disrupt things at the last minute. We begin in Michigan, where The Detroit Free Press is hopeful.

    VOICE: At every stage of the fitful peace process in Northern Ireland, the big problem has been who moves first. . Now former U-S Senator George Mitchell, who has been called the most patient man in Ulster, has brokered an agreement that essentially calls for both sides to walk through the door together. In one busy day, one-two-three, a new local government for Northern Ireland would be set up, the new shared-power executive body would meet, and the wickedly armed paramilitaries on both sides would name delegates to a disarmament commission. The last item is a concession by the I-R-A, which up to now has refused to talk about surrendering so much as a bullet. But it's a major risk for David Trimble, who heads the Unionists, the leading Protestant party in Ulster. . Many members of [Mr.] Trimble's own party would just as soon sack [Editors: "fire"] him as back him on the Mitchell compromise. . Once again, the question is whether political leaders are brave enough to make the peace, which is much harder . than to go on making war.

    TEXT: From Texas, The Forth Worth Star Telegram is extremely cautious, in keeping with the many past failures since the Good Friday pact was signed, but, still sounds a hopeful note.

    VOICE: Northern Ireland's peace process sees a startling resurrection - but it's not out of the cemetery yet. If the search for peace in Northern Ireland has long been a prime example of "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," the province's leaders may finally be in sight of a reversal of that bitter cliche . [However] The "hard men" on both sides of Ulster's tragic divide can still win. But Ulster Unionist leader David] Trimble, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and other leading players in this drama - a cast in which [Senator] Mitchell certainly has had a starring role - have demonstrated a commendable hard-headedness of their own in pursuit of a palatable settlement in Northern Ireland.

    TEXT: Worried about some brash statement on one side or the other, which in the past have done considerable damage, Newsday on New York's Long Island pleads: "Don't Let Rash Talk Sink N. Ireland Peace Effort."

    VOICE: Thanks to the tireless mediating efforts of former Senator George Mitchell, the two warring sides in Northern Ireland last week made a significant breakthrough toward creating a lasting peace. But Sinn Fein must do more to clarify seemingly contradictory statements on disarmament that could vitiate the progress. . It would be tragic if a rash comment were to plunge the Northern Ireland peace agreement into the deep freeze once again.

    TEXT: Lastly, in Hawaii, the afternoon daily, The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, is somewhat pessimistic, declaring: "Until the Irish Republican Army surrenders its weapons, the success of the peace efforts will remain in doubt." And the newspaper continues:

    VOICE: As the Associated Press reported, the new compromise package calls for the Ulster Unionists . to drop their longstanding demand that the Irish Republican Army disarm before the four-party government is formed. Instead, the Ulster Unionists would accept the Sinn Fein party, the political arm of the I-R-A, as government colleagues on the same day the I-R-A started negotiations with a disarmament commission. However, David Trimble .. Who accepted this compromise, faces considerable opposition within his party. He could be ousted as party leader in a key vote late this month. If [Mr.] Trimble loses, [Senator] Mitchell said, the agreement may fall apart. .. The outcome . remains very much in doubt - and will be until the I-R-A surrenders its weapons.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment on the current state of peace efforts in Northern Ireland from the U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 23-Nov-1999 14:15 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1915 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] NY ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256491
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Profit-taking kept stock prices in the United States down today (Tuesday), as investors took advantage of the market's recent strength. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 93 points, less than one percent, closing at 10-thousand- 995. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 16 points to 14-hundred-four. The Nasdaq Composite lost one and one-half percent. Analysts said the sell-off was not surprising during a shortened trading week. Investors locked in gains, especially from Internet-related stocks, before the U- S financial markets close Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    High technology has driven the U-S stock market all year. Investment strategist Charles Pradilla believes the sector will remain vibrant:

    /// PRADILLA ACT ///

    We're a little bit over-extended now. We've come a long way. But I would expect that the strength in technology will continue through the end of the year and well into the seasonally- favorable early part of January. I see no let- up in the focus and the importance of technology as an industry and the stocks as investment vehicles.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    On the U-S economy, orders to U-S factories for big- item goods, such as appliances and semiconductors, fell in October for the second straight month. Many experts hope this means the U-S economy is slowing down, which would be good news for inflation-watchers.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG VERSION ///

    U-S oil companies Exxon and Mobil are offering to make concessions to win the U-S Federal Trade Commission's approval for their proposed merger. The two companies reportedly are willing to get rid of 15-percent - about 24-hundred - of their gas stations nation-wide. They also would have to sell a U-S West Coast refinery and interest in several U-S pipelines. Oil company stocks - up lately, along with the price of crude oil - were down in Tuesday trading. Crude oil prices also backed off a bit, after hitting a nine-year high Monday. The deal that could pave the way for China to join the World Trade Organization has prompted a number of U-S companies to look for opportunities in that huge Asian country. I-B-M is setting up a 20-million dollar joint venture with China Great Wall computer group. It will help customers finance I-B-M hardware and software products. (signed) NEB/NY/EJ/LSF/gm 23-Nov-1999 16:42 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 2142 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] TUESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/23/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11565
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: There is a decidedly domestic tone to many of the editorials in Tuesday's major U-S newspapers, beginning with more comments on the agreement on a federal budget, and several thoughts on the U-S presidential candidates. Other topics include a downturn in violent crime in the United States; the Middle East peace process; hopes for peace in Northern Ireland; comments on China's space program and Beijing's potential influence over the soon-to-be Panamanian Panama Canal. Now, here is _________with a closer look, including some excerpts, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The San Jose [California] Mercury News comments on last week's budget agreement between The Clinton administration and the Republican-led Congress:

    VOICE: Republicans were able to thwart Bill Clinton's most ambitious proposals, but the final budget ended up with more of the traits of Clinton's centrist politics than the conservatism of the Republican leadership. . All in all, the budget, and the congressional session as a whole, essentially preserved the status quo.

    ///OPT ///

    The major policy accomplishment . was the overdue overhaul of the regulations that govern banks, securities firms and insurance companies. They can get into one another's business now. The major failure was rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to impede the spread of nuclear weapons.

    TEXT: The assessment of both the budget agreement, and the Congressional term as a whole is not much different in the view of The Saint Paul [Minnesota] Pioneer Press.

    VOICE: At best, the 106th is a status-quo Congress. It took six extra weeks to do the ordinary business of passing the 13 mandated spending bills by relaying on transparent, ridiculous budget gimmicks. What this Congress hasn't accomplished includes: long-term repair for Medicare, Social Security reform, gun control, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, defense spending that cuts pork and adequately feeds (the) muscle of a 21st-century military. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: Today's Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal says the "budget suggests little but preparing for the (election) campaign," and questions whether this was in fact, a "do-nothing Congress?" Meanwhile, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin worries that the "Huge budget surplus may be an illusion," adding: The one trillion dollar budget surplus projected over ten years depends on adherence to those [previously agreed-to] spending limits and probably will not be achieved."

    TEXT: Finally on Congress, a unique view from The Record in New Jersey's Bergen County.

    VOICE: It was, say . critics, a do-nothing Congress, and that, some might reply, is exactly what it should have been. Considering most of the major issues being pushed on the Republican-controlled House and Senate by a Democratic president, the worst possible outcome would have been that something would actually have been enacted . Both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be looking ahead to the two-thousand elections instead of focusing on their responsibilities to the citizenry.

    TEXT: Republican Presidential candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush comes in for a good deal of attention in the wake of his first foreign policy address. Says the Chicago Tribune of last Friday's speech:

    VOICE: Frankly, the speech was underwhelming. . what one might expect from a governor dipping his toe in the turbulent sea of world politics. The true test of global leadership won't come in speeches that regurgitate the policy briefings of hired experts, but rather in applying that knowledge to world affairs honestly and consistently when it comes time to govern. . he failed to present a vision that was substantially new or different from [President] Clinton's.

    TEXT: The Daily Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City saw the address differently.

    VOICE: It was his first major foreign policy address and by most scorecards . the Texas governor . helped counter fears he could not speak coherently on global issues. . [Mr.] Bush underscored the need for a foreign policy that would be driven more by American interests than those of the "world community," to which [Mr.] Clinton and his foreign policy chiefs often refer. /// OPT /// . Using language not heard from [Mr.] Clinton since 1992, when he accused [Governor] Bush's father of "coddling" China's dictators, the younger Bush called the communist regime an "enemy of religious freedom" and a "sponsor of forced abortion." /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: In another note on Governor Bush's campaign, The San Francisco Chronicle criticizes him for not meeting with .a group of homosexual Republicans, noting:

    VOICE: It appears that foreign policy is not the only subject in which he needs remedial work.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Turning to another Republican Party presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former military jet pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam, The Los Angeles Times is sharply critical of recent suggestions that he is too bad tempered and mentally unstable to lead.

    VOICE: Personal smears have been a nasty part of American political life since the earliest days of the republic, but it's hard to recall a campaign more vicious than that being directed against . Senator John McCain .. The gist of the story is that [Senator] McCain is not just short-tempered - which he acknowledges - but mentally unstable.

    TEXT: The Times concludes by saying of Mr. McCain's enemies accused of making the comments, "they have chosen an inexcusably shameful way to try to get even."

    /// END OPT ///

    Several papers are commenting on the latest national crime statistics that show violent crime has dropped again in this country - the seventh such drop in as many years. In Oklahoma, The Tulsa World expresses worry about local crime rates that did not drop as much, before commenting on the national drop:

    VOICE: Since it's hard to know with any degree of precision what's causing the downward spiral, let's pass the credit around. If crime rates start to rise, one thing's for sure - there certainly won't be much of a competition to take the blame.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: In Maine, The Portland Press Herald suggests that the "Lower crime [rates] reflects the strong economy."

    /// END OPT ///

    Turning overseas, both The New York Times and Atlanta Constitution are pleased with the latest comments by Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, on the peace process in the Middle East. First The Constitution:

    VOICE: Next week, Israelis and Palestinians will at last begin serious and detailed talks about the most difficult obstacles standing in the way of a final peace accord between them - tough issues like the status of Jerusalem, final borders and access to water. At this delicate juncture, it is reassuring to see Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government going out of its way to maintain an atmosphere conducive to compromise. . In the short time [Mr.] Barak has served as prime minister, he has skillfully built upon his political base and displayed diplomatic aptitude unusual in a lifetime soldier.

    TEXT: The New York Times was especially pleased with one of the quotations Mr. Barak used in his New York speech.

    VOICE: .[he] chose the ancient words of Ecclesiastes, "there is a time for war and a time for peace." It was a particularly apt quotation. As a former general and a former foreign minister under Shimon Peres, Mr. Barak has seen his share of warmaking and peacemaking. Now, as Israel's prime minister, he well knows that the next few months offer a rare and perhaps fleeting opportunity for clinching a Middle East peace agreement.

    TEXT: Turning to the subject of China, there are comments on both Beijing's space program and the alleged threat of Chinese communist influence over the Panama Canal when it reverts to Panamanian authority at the end of the year. First, The Omaha World Herald tries to put critics at ease on the Chinese space program.

    VOICE: An official Chinese newspaper says China's success in testing a spacecraft meant for manned flight has implications for that nation's future ability to outwit U-S anti-missile defenses. Well, maybe. . A more positive take [EDS: "view"] on China's planned manned space program is that it could, instead, steer that nation into some sort of partnership with the West. Stranger things have happened .. /// OPT /// . if China and the United States and perhaps Russia can engage in joint ventures whose whole is greater than the sum of the parts, that could hasten the day when all of us stop obsessing about who can wreak what sort of destruction upon whom. /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: The Tulsa (Oklahoma) World comments on fears that a Hong Kong-based company, hired to manage the Panama Canal after the takeover from the United States, will lead to control by China:

    VOICE: The treaty [ceding control of the canal to Panama] is basic to the United States keeping peaceful relations with its neighbors in Central and South America. There is no justification whatever to try to back out of this treaty, no matter the scare tactics [Senate Majority Trent] Lott and his buddies try to drum up.

    TEXT: Lastly, of the latest drive toward peace in Northern Ireland, Newsday on New York's Long Island pleads: "Don't Let Rash Talk Sink N. Ireland Peace Effort."

    VOICE: Thanks to the tireless mediating efforts of former Senator George Mitchell, the two warring sides in Northern Ireland last week made a significant breakthrough toward creating a lasting peace. But Sinn Fein must do more to clarify seemingly contradictory statements on disarmament that could vitiate the progress. . It would be tragic if a rash comment were to plunge the Northern Ireland peace agreement into the deep freeze once again.

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Tuesday's U-S press.
    NEB/ANG/JP 23-Nov-1999 12:18 PM EDT (23-Nov-1999 1718 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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