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Voice of America, 99-11-24

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / OCALAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [02] TURKEY QUAKE / LESSONS BY LAURIE KASSMAN (ISTANBUL)
  • [03] TURKEY QUAKES / RECOVERY BY LAURIE KASSMAN (IZMIT)
  • [04] CZECH REPUBLIC / WALL (L-O) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [05] U-S - RUSSIA - RELATIONS (L-ONLY) BY GIL BUTLER (STATE DEPARTMENT)
  • [06] WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION SCENESETTER: BY ROSANNE SKIRBLE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)
  • [08] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] TURKEY / OCALAN (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256507
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A Turkish appeals court is to rule Thursday on the death sentence imposed on imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports the court is widely expected to uphold the sentence, but it appears increasingly unlikely that it will actually be carried out.

    TEXT: Turkish special forces last February captured Abdullah Ocalan - the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (P-K-K). At the time, many commentators predicted the rebel leader would be executed for leading a 15-year separatist insurgency that has claimed more than 30-thousand lives. As expected, a Turkish court in June convicted Ocalan on treason charges. Ocalan's lawyers appealed that sentence and demanded a retrial, saying the P-K-K leader should be tried instead on charges of setting up an illegal armed gang, a crime that carries a lighter sentence of up to 18 years. In an interview with V-O-A, an Ocalan lawyer, Irfan Dundar, said he is encouraged by recent proposals by Turkey's justice minister and human rights minister to abolish the death penalty.

    /// DUNDAR ACT ONE - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///
    Mr. Dundar says he believes recent peace overtures by the P-K-K leader have helped shift the public mood in Turkey. He cites Ocalan statements renouncing demands for Kurdish autonomy and independence in favor of cultural autonomy for Turkey's estimated 12-million Kurds. Mr. Dundar also noted the P-K-K's decision to give up its armed struggle and to withdraw from Turkish territory. But there may be other reasons why Turkish authorities appear increasingly reluctant to hang Ocalan, thereby ending a 15-year moratorium on executions. Mr. Dundar says the major reason is Turkey's desire to join the European Union. E-U leaders - at a summit next month in Helsinki - are expected to include Turkey on the list of countries with which the European Union is starting membership negotiations. E-U leaders have made clear that if Ocalan is executed, Turkey's chances of E-U membership will disappear altogether.

    /// OPT ///

    The Turkish parliament has final say on Ocalan's fate. But it can indefinitely postpone the vote on whether the death sentence should be carried out. Analysts say there are growing signs that parliament will be in no hurry to take up the issue. The Turkish military - which exercises great influence over Turkish policy - has said Ocalan's fate should be decided by politicians. Turkey's military chief of staff, Huseyin Kivrikoglu, also hinted recently that the armed forces are not against easing bans on the use of the Kurdish language. /// END OPT /// Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Wednesday that if the European Court of Human Rights orders a halt to the Ocalan execution, Turkey will have to comply. Mr. Dundar confirmed that Ocalan's defense team would apply to the European Court to intervene on the P-K-K leader's behalf. He said it could take months, even years, for the European court to come up with its decision. Mr. Dundar insists that his client's peace gestures are not intended to save his own life, as Ocalan critics frequently charge. Rather, Mr. Dundar says, they are designed to help promote democracy for Turks and Kurds alike.
    /// DUNDAR ACT TWO - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///
    Mr. Dundar says that granting Kurds the freedom to broadcast and educate in their own language is a basic democratic right. He says Turkey's Kurds are not seeking minority status in the country. All they want, he says, is to be equal partners. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH/JP 24-Nov-1999 11:46 AM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1646 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] TURKEY QUAKE / LESSONS BY LAURIE KASSMAN (ISTANBUL)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44828
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// ED'S: ONE OF TWO REPORTS BY LAURIE KASSMAN ON THE AFTERMATH OF TURKEY'S EARTHQUAKE. THE OTHER REPORT IS "TURKEY QUAKE / RECOVERY" 5-44827. ///

    INTRO: A devastating earthquake in northwestern Turkey last August claimed more than 17-thousand lives. Another quake hit a neighboring area earlier this month, claiming more than 700 victims. The seismological tremors have sent political and economic shock waves through Turkey's society. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in Istanbul looks at some of the lessons learned.

    TEXT: The deadly tremors in August and November underlined Turkey's urgent need to rethink how it rebuilds its cities and its institutions. The World Bank's Country Director for Turkey, Ajay Chhibber, sees it as a turning point for Turkey.

    /// CHHIBBER ACT ONE ///

    It is a turning point in a sense because people inside the country are beginning to ask questions about institutions and why the response was not much faster and why all these buildings were allowed to be built.

    /// END ACT ///

    Turkey's construction industry was harshly criticized for corruption and shoddy work that resulted in thousands of deaths and destroyed buildings. Building codes were ignored. A new housing insurance code aims at making it tougher for private builders to construct unsafe buildings by linking eligibility for insurance with controls on the quality of construction. Still, some foreign donors report that local suppliers continue to skimp on materials to protect their profits. They warn that building codes and insurance controls are useless unless strictly enforced. Aid workers and earthquake survivors also denounced the government's slow reaction to the disaster last August. Private rescue teams also realized how ill- prepared they were too. Nasuh Mahruki, of the private rescue team Arkut, says his group learned a key lesson.

    /// MAHRUKI ACT ///

    We learned that time is the crucial point in these kinds of situations. The quicker you move, the more lives you will be able to get (save).

    /// END ACT //

    Mr. Mahruki says his volunteer association now has pre-positioned rescue equipment in areas accessible to the earthquake prone regions. He hopes it will speed the reaction time. He says the response to the November earthquake was faster, but still not fast enough. The government has promised a disaster insurance system to help respond more quickly to future emergencies. But the second quake has increased the burden for a government that still has not fulfilled its pledge to provide adequate housing for victims of the earlier earthquake. Several non-government groups have complained the government blocked their relief efforts because it feared the popularity of their work. Some secular charities even complained that religious groups tried to use the disaster to promote their cause.

    /// OPT ///

    Osman Atalay of an Islamist-oriented relief group says the government has to learn to work with them, not against them.

    /// OPT // ATALAY ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    He says it is time for the government to make peace with the private relief groups -- no matter what their religious or political affiliations -- and take advantage of their resources. /// END OPT /// Turkey's finance officials acknowledge the earthquake disasters have dealt a temporary blow to the economy - cutting expected tax revenues and production in the country's industrial heartland. But the officials insist the overall economy has managed to stand up to the shock. They estimate that production levels will be back to normal within five-months. The two major earthquakes have also shaken Turkey's international relations -- in a positive way. The U-S and European governments, the United Nations, and international financial institutions are providing billions to help pay the cost of reconstruction. The World Bank `s Ajay Chhibber says the outpouring of aid also has taught Turkey a lesson in foreign relations.

    /// CHHIBBER ACT TWO ///

    There is an old saying that only a Turk can be a friend of a Turk. And I think this saying has been totally discredited by the earthquakes - by the response of the outside international community to earthquakes. I think psychologically, because of this outpouring of support for each other, the thaw in Greek- Turkish relations, all these factors have come together. In a way the earthquake has jolted everybody into action.

    /// END ACT ///

    The most notable improvement is in Greek-Turkish relations. Greece quickly sent rescue teams to Turkey during the disaster and later lifted its veto of European Union loans to its neighbor. The thaw in relations has produced a more conciliatory talk about thorny disputes, which have blocked Turkey's long- standing quest to join the European Union. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 24-Nov-1999 10:13 AM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1513 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] TURKEY QUAKES / RECOVERY BY LAURIE KASSMAN (IZMIT)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44827
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// ED'S: ONE OF TWO REPORTS BY LAURIE KASSMAN ON THE AFTERMATH OF TURKEY'S EARTHQUAKES. THE OTHER REPORT IS "TURKEY QUAKES / LESSONS" - 5-44828. ///

    INTRO: Two major earthquakes in three-months have devastated parts of northwestern Turkey. More than 17-thousand people died in the first quake, more than 700 in the second. Hundreds-of-thousands more have been left homeless. Correspondent Laurie Kassman visited Izmit, near the epicenter of the first quake that hit in August, to report on how survivors are trying to put some order into their lives.

    TEXT:

    /// WOMEN TALKING - FADE UNDER ///

    Dozens of women and children scramble from their tents to line up, in a steady light rain, for food when the Red Cross truck pulls up to the relief camp on the outskirts of Izmit. It has become routine for 13- hundred survivors living in the camp since the August earthquake devastated large areas of Turkey's industrial heartland. For the past three-months, Ilkay and her husband have been living in a makeshift tent across the road from the official encampment. She joins the food lines three-times a day, carrying the bowls of hot soup and vegetables back to her wood and cloth home. Last August, she was enjoying the comfort of her brand new apartment in a seven-story building when the earth shook and the building collapsed. Ilkay managed to salvage a couch, some cushions, and a rug from her home, which now covers the damp, cold ground in her tent.

    /// ILKAI ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    Ilkay says friends and neighbors have offered a heater and other items to make life a bit easier. The government is far behind in its promise to provide dry shelter for all the survivors, but some have been lucky. A group of private industrialists have built a cluster of prefabricated rooms on an empty plot of land in Izmit and turned it over to the local authorities to operate. The simply furnished rooms average 30-square meters each. They were built on concrete slabs and fitted with heaters and running water. There is a common dining and meeting room at one end of the complex that wraps around a sandy playground and neatly paved walkway. One-thousand earthquake survivors moved in three-weeks ago.

    /// EMINEY ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    After two-months in a cold, damp tent, Eminey says she is so relieved to be dry and warm, she wants to show her thanks by making a silk rug for the industrialist who put up the prefab village.

    /// OPT ///

    Nizmettin Yuzer runs the pre-fab village for the local council. He also lost his home and has moved his family into one of the units. He says the warmer, dryer accommodations have lifted their spirits and their common experience in the disaster has encouraged a sense of community.

    /// OPT // YUZER ACT - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    /// OPT ///

    Mr. Yuzer says the children have given it a neighborhood feeling, laughing together in the playground. The residents also gather in the common rooms to chat and watch T-V or help dish out the daily food rations. /// END OPT // Other prefab units are sprouting up in Izmit and elsewhere across the disaster zone. Mr. Yuzer says the government is putting up another two-thousand in Izmit and private groups are rushing to put up more. In nearby Yalova, a U-S architect designed a more permanent prefab structure to replace the collapsed school there. Rick Nunez relied on the local market for tools and materials. He says he was flabbergasted by some suppliers who tried to sell him sub-standard cement. The high death toll last August was blamed in part on poor building materials that crumbled thousands of buildings.

    /// NUNEZ ACT ///

    When we asked for six or seven sacks of cement mixes, the ready-mix concrete salesman looked at me like I had two heads and asked why do you want so much cement? And again, I said look around you. It is worth it to spend another five or 10-dollars a cubic meter of ready-mix concrete and save all these lives and devastation. They still have not learned.

    /// END ACT //

    The government has approved a new housing insurance policy it expects to cut down on such practices. The code links insurance eligibility to adherence to the existing building laws, which have not been strictly enforced in the past. Another concern is the psychological well-being of survivors. Turkan Saylan heads a volunteer group that focuses on psychological and educational relief efforts. She says their work has aimed to rid the children of their earthquake nightmares and restore a sense of order to their lives.

    /// REST OPT ///

    /// SAYLAN ACT ///

    At the beginning they were afraid, but by play and singing, drawing pictures, you can stop this feeling. And if they will spend more time in the rehabilitation places and spend little time in the tents with their families, this is important.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mrs. Saylan also has convinced several universities to send their student teachers to help out in makeshift schools that have been set up in the earthquake area. She and other relief workers emphasize the need to restore a sense of order for the survivors while they desperately try to rebuild their lives. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 24-Nov-1999 09:46 AM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1446 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] CZECH REPUBLIC / WALL (L-O) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256504
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A Czech city council has pulled down a wall separating Gypsies from their neighbors. European Union officials and human rights activists had described it as a new Berlin Wall in the heart of Europe. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest that the decision came after Czech President Vaclav Havel and other politicians warned the wall could harm Czech efforts to join the European Union.

    TEXT: The city council of Usti nad Labem, a small town 90-kilometers north of Prague, voted to tear down a wall. Human rights workers saw the wall as a symbol of growing violence and discrimination against Gypsies who prefer to be known as the Roma. Last month, 37 Gypsy families were awakened in the early morning hours by the sound of hammers and heavy equipment as workers began to construct a wall two- meters-high and 65-meters long. Homeowners living on one side of the street said they did not want to see the Gypsies, living in a pair of rundown apartment buildings. Since than, the Gypsy families say they have lived in fear. Almost immediately after the construction of the wall, European Union officials and human rights activists compared the situation in the town with the years of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. Worried about his country's prospects for joining the European Union, President Vaclav Havel urged the authorities in Usti nad Labem to remove the wall or else rename a nearby road, "The Street of Intolerance." The chief-rabbi of the Czech Republic, Karol Sidon went even further, and compared the wall with Jewish ghettos during the Nazi-era of World-War Two. Initially, the city council of Usti nad Labem chose to ignore the criticism, but apparently changed its mind after the Gypsies took the local authorities to court earlier this month. Claude Cahn, of the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, monitors allegations of human rights violations against the Gypsies. He says he has mixed feelings about the decision to remove the wall.

    /// ACT CAHN ///

    It would have been nice if there would have been an explicit comment that the original decision (to build the wall) was racially motivated and was wrong. Because it was racially motivated. The second unfortunate aspect is that in combination to tear down the wall, the city has to buy the houses of non-Romani residents across the street, so that they can move away.

    /// END ACT ///

    Although workers pulled down the wall early Wednesday, Mr. Cahn and other human rights workers warn that Gypsies will still face what he calls walls of discrimination in the minds of many people. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SB/GE/RAE 24-Nov-1999 09:57 AM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1457 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] U-S - RUSSIA - RELATIONS (L-ONLY) BY GIL BUTLER (STATE DEPARTMENT)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256513
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has repeated American concern over Russia's actions against Chechnya, but says that should not be linked to efforts to bring economic stability to Russia. Correspondent Gil Butler has the story from the State Department.

    TEXT: In a recent foreign policy speech, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush called for withholding economic aid to Russia because of its military actions in Chechnya. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, while refusing to comment directly on Mr. Bush's stand, told a Washington news conference (Wednesday) there should be no linkage.

    /// 1st ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    I think it is very important to keep things separated here. We believe that it is very important for there to be economic stability in Russia. That is in our national interest.

    /// END ACT ///

    At the same time, Secretary Albright repeated U-S objections to the Russian operation in Chechnya, which has resulted in civilian suffering. At recent meetings, she says, Russia has been given a clear message by the international community that its actions are wrong, and a political settlement is essential. A reporter from the Russian news agency TASS described United States-Russian relations as being at a very low point and asked how she would go about improving the relationship. Ms. Albright says there is no doubt Chechnya has complicated America's relations with Russia, but she adds that no one wants to return to Cold War days.

    /// 2ND ALBRIGHT ACT ///

    The last thing, I think, that we should be doing is trying to turn Russia back into an enemy. We spent 50 years in that mode, and on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and my visits with the President in that region, I went to Slovakia by myself. It made it apparent to me one more time how much time was lost during the Cold War, and being enemies with Russia is not the right approach. We should do everything we can to develop a relationship that is rational, that serves both our countries' national interests and where we do not re-create an enemy where there isn't one.

    /// END ACT ///

    The Secretary says she has almost daily contact with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and expects to continue such contacts in her remaining time as Secretary of State. (Signed)
    NEB/MGB/WTW 24-Nov-1999 14:27 PM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1927 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION SCENESETTER: BY ROSANNE SKIRBLE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=ENGLISH PROGRAMS FEATURE

    ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS NUMBER=7-33094
    EDITOR=NANCY SMART
    TELEPHONE=(202) 619-2806
    CONTENT=
    ATTENTION: ENVIRONMENT

    INTRO: When World Trade Organization delegations from 134 countries meet in Seattle, Washington Monday (November 29) for negotiations on the reduction of international trade barriers, environmental and labor groups plan to protest a number of W-T-O positions. In a news conference prior to the meeting, the heads of leading environmental organizations demanded the integration of environmental concerns into the operational structure of W-T-O. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.

    TEXT: Environmentalists say W-T-O is run by business interests and does not take environmental protection seriously. Going into the Seattle meeting, U-S Secretary of Commerce William Daley says trade issues and environmental concerns can find common ground. TAPE CUT ONE: WILLIAM DALEY (:22) "We at the Department of Commerce have worked in conjunction with other agencies for quite a long time to make sure that tariffs reductions, protection of the environment, reduction of environmental subsidies, fish subsidies specifically, which will go a long way in helping our overall environment of the world are moved upon."

    TEXT: But Durwood Zaelke [PRON:ZEL-KEY], President of the Center for International Environmental Law, stands with other environmental groups nationwide in opposing W-T-O rules governing world trade. He says the current rules do not take into account environmental concerns, worker rights or safety. TAPE CUT TWO: DURWOOD ZAELKE (:22) "None of us opposes international trade if it's the right kind of international trade. Our mission in Seattle is to protect the global environment and promote sustainable development through the rule of law. This means passing good laws in a democratic process and enforcing them in a fair way."

    TEXT: Carl Pope is Executive Director of the Sierra Club, a leading environmental group in the United States. He says W-T-O rules have worked against environmental protection and in some cases have undermined national and international law. ///OPT/// For example, he says, the W-T-O struck down the U-S law that requires all shrimp sold in the United States to be caught in nets equipped with turtle escape devices ///END OPT/// TAPE CUT THREE: CARL POPE/MARK VAN PUTTEN (:28/:09) "It has ruled that we can not protect sea turtles from irresponsible activities by shrimp fleets which don't use turtle excluder devices. The Department of Agriculture refuses to take any steps to protect America's forests from an increasing onslaught of foreign pests which are coming in on wood pallets because it is afraid that inspection rules would be ruled trade restrictive by the W-T-O." MARK VAN PUTTEN: "No nation should be forced to engage in a race to the bottom in terms of environmental protection as the price of participating in liberalized trade."

    TEXT: Mark Van Putten heads the National Wildlife Organization, the nation's largest conservation organization. He says while President Clinton recently signed an executive order that would require the United States to assess the environmental impact of all trade agreements, the World Trade Organization must adopt a similar position in the negotiation of trade rules. TAPE CUT FOUR: MARK VAN PUTTEN (: 11) "New trade agreements must include environmental assessments. It's simply common sense to evaluate the environmental impacts of liberalizing trade before we move ahead."

    TEXT: On the table in Seattle, the W-T-O will consider allowing subsides to fisheries and forest products. But Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder says freer trade without consideration of the environment would accelerate destruction of valuable natural resources. TAPE CUT FIVE: BRENT BLACKWELER (: 12) "This is a catastrophe for the forest cover on the planet and that is integrally connected to the health and environmental quality in the long run of the entire earth."

    TEXT: Environmental groups are planning large street demonstrations in Seattle. They want environmental protection integrated into the fabric of the World Trade Organization. Carl Pope with the Sierra Club says if the W-T-O does not respond to their demands, in his words, "the House of Trade could become a House of Cards and what they have built is not sustainable." (SIGNED) NEB/RS/nes 24-Nov-1999 14:41 PM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1941 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] N-Y ECON WRAP (S & L) BY BRECK ARDERY (NEW YORK)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256518
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were up today (Wednesday) with the NASDAQ index closing at a record high. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from New York.

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11- thousand-eight, up 12 points. The Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at 14-hundred-17, up 12 points. The NASDAQ index gained more than two percent, closing at a record 34-hundred-20, largely because of strength in internet-related stocks. Analysts say many stocks rebounded on a technical basis after Tuesday's sell-off. Volume was modest with many traders leaving Wall Street early in advance of Thursday's Thanksgiving Day holiday when all U-S financial markets will be closed.

    ///Begin opt///

    Some analysts, such as Robin Griffiths of the H-S-B-C Securities Company, expect stocks to rally strongly by the middle of next month.

    ///opt,Griffiths act///

    After the first week of December, people are going to wonder if they really want to be out of the market as we approach January because a lot of money should be coming back into the market in January. So I expect they will anticipate that.

    ///end act, end opt///

    The government revised upward its estimate of U-S economic growth in the third quarter. The latest figures show Gross Domestic Product grew at a five- and-one-half percent annual rate, up from the first estimate of four-point-eight percent.

    ///Rest opt for long ///

    The stock of Novell, the world's second-largest maker of computer network software, fell 14 percent after the company warned that sales of its server software are running below expectations. I-B-M stock fell about two percent after a published report (Wall Street Journal) raised questions about accounting practices at the world's largest computer company The French government has vetoed Coca-Cola's plans to acquire the Orangina soft drink brand. Coke had offered Pernod Ricard of France 733 million dollars for Orangina but French officials say the acquisition would give Coke a near monopoly position in the French soft drink market. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the second- largest in the United States, is taking the first steps toward converting from a mutual - or policy holder-owned firm -- to a stock company. If the plan is approved, Metropolitan would issue six and one-half billion dollars worth of stock, the largest initial public offering of stock in U-S history. Americans continue to pour money into stock mutual funds, especially those that specialize in high technology stocks. A research firm says new investment in U-S stock funds is 25 billion dollars so far this month, already topping 23 and one-half billion dollars for all of October.(Signed) NEB/NY/BA/LSF/PT 24-Nov-1999 17:05 PM EDT (24-Nov-1999 2205 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [08] WEDNESDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ERIKA EVANS (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/24/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11567
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-2702
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: There are a variety of topics drawing comment from the editorial pages of today's U-S newspapers. Among them are Fidel Castro's plans to attend the W-T- O summit later this month, Colombia's crackdown on drug trafficking, failure to achieve peace in Kosovo, and the Middle East peace process. Now here with a closer look and some excerpts is ____________, in today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: Cuban leader, Fidel Castro is reportedly considering attending the summit of the World Trade Organization (W-T-O) in Seattle, Washington later this month. Although Cuba is a member of the W-T-O, some U-S editorials are questioning Mr. Castro's motives. "The Washington Times" believes the leader may be trying to satisfy needs not met at the Ibero-American Summit he hosted last week in Havana.

    VOICE: Although Cuba is a member of the W-T-O, its archaic, barter-based trade policy is a blatant repudiation of the open market trade practices encouraged by the W-T-O. If Mr. Castro does travel to Seattle, it certainly will not be to foster fair-trade competition in the W-T-O spirit. The Cuban dictator is instead concerned with his own legitimacy and legacy.

    // OPT //

    Participating in the W-T-O summit would allow Mr. Castro to stand on an international soapbox and rail against the capitalist model - setting apart his policies as the "moral" example. He could then return home, and project himself as a significant player on the global stage. He could therefore satisfy both a tactical need for power and an emotional hankering for support and distinction.

    TEXT: However, "The Orlando Sentinel", in Florida, says if the United States wants to position itself to enjoy friendlier relations with future Cuban governments it must start by extending a hand to the Cuban people.

    VOICE: Let him (Mr. Fidel Castro) come. More than that, U-S officials should encourage him to come. Critics, who plan protests, say Mr. Castro simply would use the opportunity to bash the U-S embargo and spew his propaganda. Americans should not fear that prospect. At free and open forums, the truth rings loud and clear -- just as it did in Havana last week.

    TEXT: "The Los Angeles Times" is commenting on Colombia's continued war on drugs. The paper believes the U-S needs to deliver on its promises to help Colombia.

    VOICE: In a daring challenge to its powerful drug lords, Colombia has extradited a kingpin to the United States to face prosecution on heroin smuggling charges. The last time the Bogota government allowed such extraditions, the drug cartel bosses and their gangsters answered with mayhem across the country. .Colombia has asked the United States for economic and military assistance to fight drug dealers.all at a time of serious economic crisis. The Clinton administration has so far failed to deliver. The Colombia president is taking high risks. Washington should reciprocate with aid. This is a bilateral crisis.

    TEXT: "The Washington Times" is offering its view of the failure of peace in Kosovo. The paper says U-S President Clinton's visit to Kosovo yesterday is hardly a victory tour, as the nation still faces grave problems.

    VOICE: In the long run, a vision of multi-ethnic Kosovo is not likely to take hold unless life improves for members of all ethnicities. That means the U-N administrators have to do better at basic tasks of rebuilding and restoring water and electricity. Other organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have to stop squabbling and competing for power. And European and North American nations have to be more generous so that the United Nations can pay the teachers, police and others it is hiring. It also will be important to let Kosovars take more control of their lives. At least on a municipal level, Kosovars should soon be permitted to choose their own leaders. .To do otherwise would hand Mr. Milosevic a belated victory.

    TEXT: Finally, "The New York Times" is turning attention to the Mideast peace process; commenting that the next few months offer a rare opportunity for clinching a Middle East peace agreement.

    VOICE: While the next occupant of the White House may prove as committed to promoting Mideast peace as President Bill Clinton has been, the coming American election season will make it harder for Washington to take an active role in encouraging the two sides to reach agreement. With these factors in mind, (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak) Mr. Barak's announced timetable for reaching a broad understanding with the Palestinians by Mid-February seems about right. That leaves fewer than 90-days to work out the basic features of an agreement covering issues like Palestinian statehood and boundaries, Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and the rights of Palestinian refugees. That is a daunting timetable, but with fortitude on both sides, it can be met.

    TEXT: With that opinion from the "New York Times", we conclude this sampling of editorial comment from Wednesday's U-S newspapers.
    NEB/ENE/RAE 24-Nov-1999 12:15 PM EDT (24-Nov-1999 1715 UTC)
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    Source: Voice of America


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