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Voice of America, 99-11-29

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] BALKANS / BILDT (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [02] BOSNIA / NATO (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [03] U-N-CONFLICT PREVENTION (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)
  • [04] UNICEF / TURKEY EARTHQUAKE (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [05] WTO / OVERVIEW BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)
  • [06] IN SEATTLE, WHITHER WORLD TRADE BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [07] NORTHERN IRELAND PREVIEW (S-ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [08] NORTHERN IRELAND (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [09] N-Y ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [10] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] BALKANS / BILDT (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256609
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A senior United Nations official is warning that new conflicts are likely to break out in the Balkans unless much needed political and economic reforms are made. Lisa Schlein has this report from Geneva.

    TEXT: U-N Special Envoy to the Balkans Carl Bildt admits United Nations efforts to create stability in the region have achieved little so far. He says prospects for peace and stability in the Balkans remain a distant hope since the end of the Kosovo conflict five months ago. Mr. Bildt says reconstructing the shattered economies of Yugoslavia and neighboring states is, by itself, not a solution. He says stability and peace in the region will not happen unless the nations make the necessary political, economic and social reforms. In addition, Mr. Bildt says Balkan states must reintegrate their economies with those of the rest of Europe and must reconcile their political and ethnic differences.

    /// Act Bildt ///

    The magnitude of the task is huge. The forces of disintegration in the region are still substantially stronger than the forces of integration. And as long as that is the case, we can't be confident concerning the course of peace in the region. And we have to be alert as to the dangers of future conflicts and even wars.

    /// End act ///

    Mr. Bildt doesn't think the governments and political leaders in the region are sufficiently committed to reforms, reconciliation and economic reintegration. He says the social and economic effects of the Kosovo conflict have had a harmful effect on surrounding countries. And the situation following years of neglect, war and repression is not likely to improve any time soon. The United Nations special envoy notes the Kosovo conflict ended without a formal peace agreement. This, he says, makes it extremely difficult to set up an interim administration to create stability in the province. Mr. Bildt disagrees with political analysts who suggest the Balkans would be better off if other nations stopped --as he put it - meddling in its affairs.

    /// ACT BILDT ///

    Should the conclusion then be withdrawal, let it be? No. Because I'm quite certain we would get further wars then. I'm absolutely dead certain we would have further war then. My conclusion is the other way around. That is it is only by integrating this part of Europe with the rest of Europe - that will be long term - can we secure peace and stability.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Bildt says as long as the forces of disintegration in the Balkans are stronger than those of integration, other countries will have to be on their guard. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/GE 29-Nov-1999 10:37 AM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1537 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] BOSNIA / NATO (L-ONLY) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256623
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The top international official in Bosnia- Herzegovina has dismissed 22 local officials for obstructing the peace process. V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, where the official, Wolfgang Petritsch, held talks at NATO and the European Union.

    TEXT: The 22 dismissed officials include the mayors of towns in Bosnia that have defied international orders to allow the return of refugees and property. They include the Serb mayor of Banja Luka in northwestern Bosnia, and Bosnian Croat and Muslim officials in other parts of the country. The order dismisses them from their current position and forbids them from running in the municipal elections scheduled for next April. Wolfgang Petritsch explained his order to reporters at NATO Headquarters.

    /// PETRITSCH ACT ///

    I had to use the so-called Bonn powers, which were given to me by the Peace Implementation Council, because otherwise I see and I am afraid that the whole peace process there would have come to a halt, particularly when it comes to the refugee return there. As I have mentioned, progress is there, but there are in certain areas, from certain officials, there was such obstruction that I had to act.

    /// END ACT ///

    This order criticizes the dismissed officials for refusing to open a housing office to process returning refugees, or for blocking access to education by minority students. Bosnia still has nearly one- million refugees from the three-year war that ended in November of 1995. NATO sees the security situation improving in Bosnia, and plans to reduce its force there. NATO Secretary- General George Robertson is confident the smaller force of 26-thousand soldiers will be able to maintain the peace.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    Recent events have shown that across the inter- ethnic boundaries and across the military boundaries, there is a good robust, flexible military presence there that can strongly support the High Representative and strongly support the Dayton process.

    /// END ACT ///

    When Mr. Petritsch was at NATO a few weeks ago, he recommended against any reduction in the NATO troop presence in Bosnia. His hope now is that new elections in April will produce more moderate local officials who will make his job easier. (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/WTW 29-Nov-1999 12:58 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1758 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] U-N-CONFLICT PREVENTION (L-ONLY) BY BRECK ARDERY (UNITED NATIONS)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256644
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United Nations Security Council has been discussing (Monday) ways in which the Council can prevent armed conflicts around the world. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

    TEXT: U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the session by saying the Security Council should move from a "culture of reaction to a culture of prevention." He observed that prevention is cost effective in both financial and human terms. He offered several suggestions to improve the Security Council's ability to prevent armed conflicts, including a greater, and earlier, use of U-N fact- finding missions. Mr. Annan said the Security Council must also become more sensitive to sudden changes in nations that can lead to conflict.

    /// ANNAN ACT ///

    Give urgent attention to the problems of states which suffer acute economic, environmental and security strains, with consequent risks to their internal stability such as the hosting of large refugee populations from neighboring countries. Guinea, with 500-thousand refugees currently on its territory from Liberia and Sierra Leone, would be a strong candidate for such attention in the immediate future.

    /// END ACT ///

    Other speakers agreed the United Nations should improve its abilities to help defuse disputes, both internal and among nations, before they escalate to armed conflicts. However, several nations, including China and Russia, stressed that the United Nations must maintain respect for national sovereignty. They said the United Nations has no role in an internal conflict unless invited in by the government involved. Other speakers said the roots of many conflicts include authoritarian governments and economic deprivation. The encouragement of democracy and economic development, they said, can go a long way toward reducing the threat of armed conflicts. The discussion came as the Security Council issued a formal statement on its renewed determination to prevent conflicts, including the establishment of demilitarized zones and preventive disarmament. The Council also said there must be greater cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, which can provide early warnings about potential armed conflicts. (Signed)
    NEB/UN/BA/WTW 29-Nov-1999 18:44 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 2344 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] UNICEF / TURKEY EARTHQUAKE (L-ONLY) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256620
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, says thousands of children who were severely traumatized by the earthquake that struck Turkey in November are in urgent need of psychological counseling. Lisa Schlein reports from Geneva.

    TEXT: UNICEF says thousands of children and adults are still suffering serious psychological effects from the major earthquake that hit Turkey in August. But the agency says the population caught in Turkey's second quake, in November, is even more heavily traumatized. This is because those people who survived the first disaster have been forced to relive that devastating experience a second time. The coordinator of UNICEF's earthquake relief program in Turkey, William Gardner, says evidence from a preliminary survey carried out in Duzce (the epicenter of the quake) shows more than 30 percent of the children are traumatized.

    /// 1st GARDNER ACT ///

    Another factor which we are aware of, and that we are very concerned about, is that the psychological trauma also affects the children and the adults with regards to their eating. The fact [is] that children and adults following repeated trauma of this kind do not eat. And, therefore, even though food is available, they face the risk of malnutrition.

    /// END ACT ///

    In an effort to prevent widespread malnutrition, UNICEF and the Turkish health ministry are setting up 102 nutritional surveillance units in the tent cities and prefab cities. These centers will monitor the nutritional status of children and mothers; if necessary, they will be able to intervene rapidly to prevent a serious situation. Mr. Gardener says UNICEF has just begun distributing 900 tons of high-protein vitamin biscuits to earthquake victims. He says there are many symptoms of children suffering from stress. He says these children find it difficult to concentrate in school.

    /// 2nd GARDNER ACT ///

    They are detached. They're not in the school. Even though the school offers them a routine, something they can cling to, they find it very difficult to stay in the classroom. They want to leave the classroom. The more serious cases are obviously the typical signs of psychological trauma, which is children who do not talk, and when they do talk, they don't talk sense.

    /// END ACT ///

    UNICEF reports the entire population of Kaynasli and Duzce -- about 86-thousand people -- is camping out in icy conditions. It says 26-thousand of these people are children aged one to 14. The agency also says about 20-thousand of the homeless people are living under the most primitive conditions, and are in urgent need of warm tents to help them survive the winter. (Signed)
    NEB/LS/JWH/WTW 29-Nov-1999 12:19 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1719 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [05] WTO / OVERVIEW BY AMY BICKERS (SEATTLE)

    DATE=11/28/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-44857
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A huge four-day global trade conference opens in Seattle, Washington Tuesday with the aim of narrowing differences over a multitude of issues, including farm subsidies and labor standards. As Amy Bickers reports from Seattle, the talks open amid concerns that conflicting viewpoints and massive protests could hamper progress at the meeting.

    TEXT: The upcoming World Trade Organization will open without a clear agenda, since trade negotiators were unable to reach a consensus after months of talks. Their inability to find common ground is symbolic of the many difficult challenges the 135 W-T-O member will face at this conference, where a multitude of issues are likely to be discussed but agreement is expected to be elusive. The hope is that this ministerial meeting will officially launch a comprehensive new round of negotiations. Among the leading topics: environmental issues, freeing up trade in the services sector, tariffs on industrial goods and investment and competition policy. Keith Rockwell, spokesman for the W-T-O, predicts trade in agricultural products is likely to be the thorniest issue.

    /// ROCKWELL ACT ///

    Agriculture has been probably the most difficult issue because you have very firmly entrenched positions. Agriculture communities are extremely vocal about their interests and in countries like France, Germany Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Korea a great desire to preserve and maintain rural communities, production and employment. Set against that, are the desires of big exporting countries such as Argentina, Australia, The United States and Canada which are of the view that these efforts to preserve a rural way of life are disguised barriers to trade.

    /// END ACT ///

    While the United States and the European Union are on opposite sides of the agricultural debate, the two are united in their view that minimum labor standards and environmental considerations should be added to the W- T-O agenda. Developing countries, such as Mexico and India, say these initiatives are an attempt at protectionism by wealthier nations. Many delegations, including Japan's, are also concerned about the anti-dumping policy in the United States, under which Washington applies punitive duties on imports sold below cost.

    /// PROTESTOR UP FOR :04 AND UNDER ///

    As if these divisive issues were not enough, thousands of protestors are gathering in Seattle to express their views on numerous trade-related issues and to denounce globalization. There will be labor activists, environmentalists, human rights activists and animal- protection groups. Among them, local students, who say the W-T-O puts corporate profits ahead of people.

    /// PROTESTOR ACT ////

    There are a lot of us protesting for different reasons but the reason I am here protesting is because the whole W-T-O is a very undemocratic system that was put in place but was never elected. They were put there by corporate heads. There are 135 countries and they are corporately sponsored. The needs of these corporations are that they want environmental laws and labor laws outlawed so that they can make more money, more profit. That is what the W-T-O is about.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Rockwell says the visiting trade ministers are ready for the banners, marches and street theater activists have promised but concerns remain about some radical protestors, who warn they will block the streets of Seattle to stop delegates from attending the opening day of the conference.

    /// ROCKWELL ACT ///

    I think there are two groups of protestors. There is one group that does not like trade and capitalism and would like to destroy the W-T-O. I think that is a small group. The much bigger group includes consumers, environmentalists, religious groups and labor unions who want to see the system adjust to better reflect their concerns and priorities.

    /// END ACT ///

    A huge rally is planned for Tuesday, in which protestors will march through the center of the city. Leading American labor activist James Hoffa said Sunday that the goal is to show the world the ill effects of free trade. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AB/JO 28-Nov-1999 22:21 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 0321 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [06] IN SEATTLE, WHITHER WORLD TRADE BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
    NUMBER=6-11571
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: Hundreds of delegates from 135 nations are gathering for The World Trade Organization [W-T-O] meeting Tuesday in Seattle, Washington. At best it is hoped the huge conference will settle additional trade questions and set the standard for free world trade during the first years of the new millennium. At its worst, the meeting may degenerate into protectionist bickering, fomented by many farm and trade union groups in member nations, worried about increased foreign competition. And adding to the flavor, will be tens-of-thousands of demonstrators, many of whom see increased world trade as an evil that does few any good. With that background, you can be sure the subject is already front and center in the editorial columns, and here is ______________ with a sampling of the latest.

    TEXT: Conference organizers had hoped a preliminary meeting in Geneva last week would have set the firm agenda in place, but the delegates were unable to agree on subjects. Among the many issues to be resolved are how environmental issues affect trade, abolishing farm subsidies for exports, opening markets for trade in services and further cutting tariffs. "The Los Angeles Times" says there are hundreds of peripheral issues that could bog things down, and the paper says hopefully, they can be kept out of the discussion.

    VOICE: Few nations relish the idea of opening their markets to imports, but the 135-member countries of the World Trade Organization will seek to do just that in Seattle this week. .. Agreement in the . discussions . will hinge on the negotiators' success in keeping most .. Pet projects off the agenda. Labor standards and environmental rules, for instance, clearly do not belong on the trade agenda. . Keeping the agenda simple is the key to the Seattle round.

    TEXT: Turning to the largest U-S daily in the region of the conference, "The Oregonian", in Portland, we find little sympathy for the thousands of protestors who plan to disrupt the conference any way they can.

    VOICE: // OPT // The world of some of the most radical protesters would be one where nations move back behind the trade barriers and protectionist policies of the not-so-distant past. The world they would create, despite their good intentions, would be one of greater distrust and the extended dominion of rich nations over the poor. It is the world we have been moving away from for more than a decade, as the era of freer international trade has taken hold. // END OPT // . It is ironic that many of the people who are arriving in Seattle to protest the W-T-O wrap their views in the cloaks of world peace and international understanding. In their efforts to undermine the W-T-O session, they are attacking one of the few effective means of creating those things. Trade and interdependence have historically been key factors in keeping nations from going to war against each other ...

    TEXT: Taking a very different view of the message to be delivered from the street protests is "The Miami Herald".

    VOICE: The most important message to emerge from this week's meeting . may be the one delivered by the protesters outside. It is this: The Millennium Round of trade talks cannot strictly focus on expanding commerce and knocking down barriers. . The point is . to put expanded trade in a larger context that protects and enforces the values embraced in other international treaties and enhances people's lives.

    TEXT: From the heartland, and Nebraska's largest daily, "The Omaha World-Herald", we get this resounding answer to why Americans should care about world trade. The paper goes on to point out one good reason; that exports of goods, including farm products and industrial machinery, and services from Nebraska accounted for two-point-two-billion dollars of the state's economy in 1998.

    VOICE: Given these conditions, it would be foolhardy to ignore the global marketplace. Moreover, if the World Trade Organization negotiations reduce trade barriers in coming years, the United States has clear potential for expanding its exports. . Free trade does not guarantee absolute security to every American. It does, however, encourage an economy in which people and businesses are free to make their own decisions in the most efficient way possible.

    TEXT: "The Boston Globe's" view is that, given increasing reservations about further changes among many nations, a cooling off period may be the best result at Seattle.

    VOICE: It is a sad comment on the nature of international trade negotiations these days that the most favorable outcome of the World Trade Organization conference ... could be simply the status quo. While the conference should endorse another round of talks designed to ease barriers to trade in a number of fields, the political realities in many countries make it increasingly difficult for them to embrace still freer international commerce.

    TEXT: The San Jose [California] "Mercury News" takes a negative view of the conference protestors demonstrating in the streets.

    VOICE: Many of them rail against international trade. Globalization, they say, is crushing everything from the natural environment to the economies of developing countries to worldwide cultural diversity. . They are as wrong as the Luddites of the Industrial Revolution. Like that economic upheaval, globalization bestows its benefits unevenly and not without collateral damage. But overall, it improves life for people around the world.

    TEXT: "The Washington Times" says some real leadership is needed by the industrialized democracies.

    VOICE: "The Financial Times" reported last week that a senior official for France said leaders were reluctant "to fly a long way for an unnecessary photo-call" at the W-T-O conference. It is precisely this apathy towards the conference that is imperiling the potential success of the "Millennium Round" of free-trade talks. Negotiators for the 135 nations .. abandoned their efforts in Geneva last Tuesday to work out an agenda. Clearly, there is a lot more for world leaders to do in Seattle than simply pose for photo-ops. They could instead assume some leadership and attempt give trade talks momentum.

    TEXT: With that, we conclude this sampling of comment regarding the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting this week in Seattle, Washington.
    NEB/ANG/RAE 29-Nov-1999 13:14 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1814 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] NORTHERN IRELAND PREVIEW (S-ONLY) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256607
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In Northern Ireland, Republicans and Unionists are set to share power when they form an all-party executive council (later in the day/ a few hours from now/EDS: meeting due to start at 1430 UTC / 9:30am EST). The peace process had stalled over the timing of the council and the disarmament of Irish Republican Army (I-R-A) paramilitaries. V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London that the historic power-sharing formula comes after Unionists agreed to set up the council last weekend.

    TEXT: Northern Ireland's assembly meets (in the afternoon) to nominate the 12 ministers for the cabinet. Two will be named from the I-R-A's political wing Sinn Fein. Ulster Unionists agreed to set up the council with Sinn Fein even before the I-R-A starts handing over its weapons. But Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble says his party will take another look at the process in February if the I-R-A has not started disarming by then. Sinn Fein says that was not part of the formula worked out over the past ten weeks with U-S mediator George Mitchell. But Sinn Fein did agree that an I-R-A middleman is to be named this week to work with the special commission on disarmament. NEB/LMK/GE/gm 29-Nov-1999 06:26 AM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1126 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] NORTHERN IRELAND (L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256630
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: The Northern Ireland assembly has selected its 12-minister all-party executive council. The power- sharing formula brings together Republicans and Unionists -- once bitter enemies -- in a peace cabinet. Correspondent Laurie Kassman in London reports selection of the 12-member cabinet was delayed several months by a dispute over the timing of disarming the Irish Republican Army.

    TEXT: Speaking in Irish and English, Martin McGuinness, was the first member of the I-R-A's political wing, Sinn Fein, to accept a cabinet post -- as education minister.

    /// MCGUINNESS ACT - IN IRISH AND ENGLISH //

    I affirm the pledge of office that was set by Schedule-four in the Northern Ireland Act of 1998.

    /// END ACT ///

    The simple phrase was enough to set Northern Ireland on its new path to peace as outlined by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Another Sinn Fein member Bairbre de Brun (Bar Bar ah de Broon) took the health portfolio. The two Sinn Fein members join a cabinet that includes several Unionists opposed to sharing power with them. The 12-minister cabinet will run Northern Ireland's government after home-rule powers are transferred later in the week. Britain's parliament is set to approve the transfer of home-rule powers Tuesday. Queen Elizabeth is to sign the act of parliament Wednesday, and the transfer is to be completed Thursday. The establishment of the council was delayed for months while Unionists and Republicans disputed the timing of the disarming of Irish Republican Army para- militaries. It took former U-S senator George Mitchell nearly three-months of mediation to work out a carefully sequenced compromise. The Ulster Unionist party last weekend agreed to set up the cabinet before the I-R-A actually started handing over its weapons -- on condition the I-R-A appoint an intermediary to work with the special disarmament commission. That is due to happen after home rule is transferred Thursday. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/JWH/RAE 29-Nov-1999 14:00 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1900 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [09] N-Y ECON WRAP (S&L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-256643
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were lower today (Monday), as the U-S bond market weakened in response to the dollar's latest slump against the Japanese yen. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 40 points, about one-third of one percent, closing at 10- thousand-947. The Standard and Poor's 500 index fell eight points, to 14-hundred-seven. And the Nasdaq Composite lost three-quarters of one percent. Prices on the 30-year government bond fell sharply, driving the yield back up to six-point-three percent. And, that's despite another sign of a slowing U-S economy. Home sales in the United States fell an unexpected six-point-six percent in October, the lowest level in two years.

    // OPT //

    Rising interest rates are making even stock market optimists wary. Analyst Larry Wachtel says he still thinks the market will rise. But he says the fate of bonds over the next few weeks will be a big factor:

    /// WACHTEL ACT ///

    The entire November rally came when the long bond yield fell from six-point-four to six percent [6.4 to 6.0]. And now we've backed that up to almost six- point-three percent, and the stocks are kind of floundering around. I think we're bullish [optimistic] because we have favorable seasonalities, we have favorable money flows. But we can't make it if the rates [bond yields] continue to rise. And that's where the battlefield lies.

    /// END ACT ////// END OPT ///

    U-S retailers report they had a big day last Friday. A strong economy and sizeable discounts encouraged brisk shopping over the crucial Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Stores posted a six-point-four percent sales increase compared with a year ago. Online retailers prospered as well. Yahoo says orders were up five times over last year. Amazon-dot-com says its orders tripled. (Signed) NEB/NY/EJ/JC/WTW 29-Nov-1999 18:32 PM EDT (29-Nov-1999 2332 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [10] MONDAY'S EDITORIALS BY ANDREW GUTHRIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=11/29/1999
    TYPE=U-S EDITORIAL DIGEST
    NUMBER=6-11570
    EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS
    TELEPHONE=619-3335
    CONTENT=

    INTRO: As the nation returns to work after the long Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, world trade is very much on the minds of editorial writers. The World Trade Organization summit convenes this week in Seattle, Washington, and thousands of demonstrators are on hand to voice concerns about the negative aspects of world trade. Other topics being discussed in the nation's newspapers include: the fate of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is facing a death sentence in a Turkish prison; the big leap forward towards peace in Northern Ireland; the AIDS crisis in Africa, and peace talks in the Middle East.

    /// OPT ///

    Rounding out the morning's commentaries are thoughts about some unintended potential consequences of China's latest space achievement./// END OPT /// Now, here with a closer look and some excerpts is ______________ and today's Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The World Trade Organization summit opens Tuesday with delegates from 135 member nations trying to agree on rules for less restrictive global trade. Demonstrators in the tens of thousands will be in the streets, giving their mostly negative view of increased world trade. The Boston Globe says reservations are growing about globalization and maybe there should be a cooling off period in expanding trade.

    VOICE: It is a sad comment on the nature of international trade negotiations these days that the most favorable outcome of the World Trade Organization conference ... could be simply the status quo. While the conference should endorse another round of talks designed to ease barriers to trade in a number of fields, the political realities in many countries make it increasingly difficult for them to embrace still freer international commerce.

    TEXT: The San Jose [California] Mercury News however reserves it's criticism for WTO opponents demonstrating in the streets.

    VOICE: Many of them rail against international trade. Globalization, they say, is crushing everything from the natural environment to the economies of developing countries to worldwide cultural diversity. . They are as wrong as the Luddites of the Industrial Revolution. Like that economic upheaval, globalization bestows its benefits unevenly and not without collateral damage. But overall, it improves life for people around the world.

    TEXT: The Washington Times says some real leadership is needed by the industrialized democracies.

    VOICE: The Financial Times reported last week that a senior official for France said leaders were reluctant "to fly a long way for an unnecessary photo-call" at the W-T-O conference. It is precisely this apathy towards the conference that is imperiling the potential success of the "Millennium Round" of free-trade talks. Negotiators for the 135 nations .. abandoned their efforts in Geneva last Tuesday to work out an agenda. Clearly, there is a lot more for world leaders to do in Seattle than simply pose for photo-ops. They could instead assume some leadership and attempt give trade talks momentum.

    TEXT: Turning to Europe, there is a good deal of optimism about peace prospects in Northern Ireland following an agreement by the Ulster Unionists to participate in a new, power-sharing assembly. The New York Times is elated:

    VOICE: The vote . was a triumph for its politically courageous leader, David Trimble, whose willingness to move beyond old orthodoxies has made a vital contribution to peace. Overcoming fierce internal opposition, Mr. Trimble persuaded his party to end its nearly 17-month boycott of the new government, even though the I-R-A [Irish Republican Army] has not yet begun turning over its illegal arsenal of bombs and guns. ... Now, thanks to Mr. Trimble, Unionism has caught up with the desire of its constituents for a more hopeful future, based on compromise and guarantees of majority rule and minority rights.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: The Boston Globe, like The Times, says the onus is now on the I-R-A, because:

    VOICE: . if the organization is serious about supporting the Good Friday agreement . there is no need to retain the bombs and snipers' rifles it has used for acts of terror in Northern Ireland and Britain.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: And now on to yet another internal conflict that has long defied settlement: the battle between the Kurds of Turkey and the Turkish government. Now, with Turkey's Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, facing a death sentence for terrorism, several U-S papers, including The Minneapolis [Minnesota] Star Tribune are suggesting an alternative to Ankara.

    VOICE: The Turkish appetite for revenge . is understandable. But indulging it would induce only momentary satisfaction, and an enduring case of political indigestion. Ocalan's execution is bound to reignite Kurdish separatist fury, while keeping him alive could be the key to forging peace. From his cell, Ocalan has already called a cease-fire and directed his fighting group to start acting more like a political party. . Turkey has nothing to lose by sparing Ocalan's life . It also has much to gain.

    TEXT: The Chicago Tribune agrees with The Star- Tribune, that Turkey has far more to gain by clemency that revenge.

    VOICE: To be sure, Turkey shouldn't take, or spare, a life simply because it is politically convenient to do so. But in this case, there are sound reasons to commute Ocalan's death sentence, and if EU [European Union] membership becomes a side benefit, so be it. [Also] Sparing Ocalan wouldn't be a stretch; Turkey has had a de fact moratorium on executions since 1984.

    TEXT: To African affairs, and a lament in The Sun from Baltimore on the most recent survey of the damage AIDS is doing in Africa.

    VOICE: The latest United Nations report . contains some truly horrifying news. In Africa, H-I-V-positive women for the first time outnumber infected men. This means more and more infants will be born with the incurable virus. The implications will be devastating for South Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular. . Only education and strong political commitment make it possible to combat H-I-V. This will be a growing challenge to Third World leaders.

    TEXT: To the Middle East now, where The Tulsa [Oklahoma] World is concerned about the size of obstacles still blocking a final peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

    VOICE: Both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinians leader Yasser Arafat have made concessions that were unpopular with their citizens. But the gains they have made far outweigh what they have given up. Problems remain. [Mr.] Barak still faces opposition from the defeated ultra-right wing Likud Party, which would prefer no concessions be made to the Palestinians. . [Mr.] Arafat has his own set of problems -not the least of which can be his wife, Suha . [who] accused Israel of the "daily and intensive use of poison gas" against Arab women and children. . The statement .did no favors to those, including Mrs. Arafat's husband, trying so hard to forge a peace.

    /// OPT ///

    TEXT: Still in the region, The Houston Chronicle is lamenting the Kuwaiti Parliament's vote to deny giving women full political rights by 2003.

    VOICE: Such thinking seems strange and alien to most people in America, where women not only vote and work in political organizations but serve in elected offices as well as men do. But before we begin to feel too superior about our seemingly advanced ways, we need only to be reminded that women in America were denied the right to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920; that blacks and other minorities were sometimes denied the right to vote through polling taxes and other subterfuges as recently as the 1960s. Maybe we are not as different from others as we'd like to think.

    TEXT: Turning to Asia, there is more reaction to China's recent launch of a spacecraft designed for manned flight. The Forth Worth Star-Telegram warns:

    VOICE: Too much progress in space could backfire on China's leadership. . By raising the expectations of the Chinese masses, the country's great technological leap forward may set in motion the dynamics that ultimately could lead to the demise of Chinese communism. What survives of the communist system in China today, despite its deplorable human rights record, is a far cry from the inflexible totalitarianism of the Mao years.

    /// END OPT ///

    TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of comment from Monday's editorial pages.
    NEB/ANG/JO 29-Nov-1999 11:44 AM EDT (29-Nov-1999 1644 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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