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Voice of America, 99-12-15

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] RUSSIA / CHECHNYA / O-S-C-E (L) BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)
  • [02] NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [03] NY ECON WRAP (S & L) BY ELAINE JOHANSON (NEW YORK)
  • [04] YEARENDER: NATO CHALLENGES BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

  • [01] RUSSIA / CHECHNYA / O-S-C-E (L) BY PETER HEINLEIN (MOSCOW)

    DATE=12/15/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257184
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A senior Russian general says federal troops could take control of the Chechen capital Grozny within days. Soldiers are already moving into the city, battling rebel forces in several districts. V- O-A's Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports that hopes are growing for direct negotiations between Russian and Chechen leaders.

    TEXT: Deputy Chief of Staff General Valery Manilov told a gathering of foreign defense attaches in Moscow the return of Grozny to federal control is imminent.

    /// MANILOV ACT - IN RUSSIAN, FADE UNDER ///

    He says the question of Grozny's liberation is just a matter of days. The general added that "freeing" the rest of Chechen territory would take a few more weeks. Russian forces already control more than 50 percent of the breakaway region. In Grozny, meanwhile, ground fighting raged for a second day amid the wreckage of bombed homes and factories. The Associated Press quotes a Chechen commander as saying rebel forces repulsed six Russian attacks during clashes in the northern and southeastern sectors of the city. A Russian officer quoted by the French news agency described the situation as "very difficult," and said rebel fighters are well prepared to defend the city. In another development, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov appealed for a meeting with the head of the European security organization, the O-S-C-E, who is visiting the region. O-S-C-E chief Knut Vollebaek earlier said he was willing to mediate in talks between the two sides. But Moscow soundly rejected the suggestion. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Avdeyev, travelling with Mr. Vollebaek in the Russian-controlled region of Chechnya, called such a meeting "unnatural."

    /// AVDEYEV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///

    He says Russia does not need mediators, calling it "an artificial formula." Mr. Avdeyev said before any mediation can take place, there must be an invitation from the government, adding "there will not be such an invitation." Russia's minister for emergency situations, Sergei Shoigu, said he would be willing to hold direct talks with President Maskhadov. But Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin says any such talks would focus exclusively on humanitarian issues.

    /// RAKHMANIN ACT ///

    As I understand the situation, Minister Shoigu was talking about negotiations with Mr. Maskhadov regarding the civilian population that is still left in Grozny. It's important to find ways to let those people leave Grozny.

    /// END ACT ///

    Minister Shoigu told reporters there may be as many as 30-thousand civilians remaining in the capital, though other estimates range as high as 50-thousand. Those still there are said to be desperately short of food and other necessities. A Chechen commander was quoted Wednesday as saying there are also at least seven-thousand rebel fighters in the city. There is no official estimate of the number of troops Moscow has poured into the Chechen campaign, but experts say the figure is well over 100-thousand. (Signed)
    NEB/PFH/JWH/KL 15-Dec-1999 13:20 PM EDT (15-Dec-1999 1820 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=12/15/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257187
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO foreign ministers say they support the European Union's plan to improve its military capabilities during the next few years, but the foreign ministers called for non-E-U members of NATO to be involved in the decision making. V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from NATO headquarters in Brussels.

    TEXT: At this meeting, it was the foreign ministers from Iceland, Norway and Turkey that asked for the microphone. Their countries have been invited to take part in a European Union plan for a rapid-reaction force of 50-thousand to 60-thousand soldiers by the year 2003. However, as non-members of the E-U, their role in planning and decision making has been left vague. The 19 NATO foreign ministers called on the European Union to find solutions satisfactory to all allies to involve the non-members. They include six European countries: Turkey, Iceland and Norway, and the new NATO members -- Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson says the European Union needs to deliver on its commitments to build up its military forces.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    Intentions are all very good and new institutions are very useful, but it is results that count. New and novel institutions will not stop a crisis. They have to be connected to real, relevant military capabilities. So the key to effective crisis management is having and keeping modern, up to date forces that can deal with the kind of crisis that we will have to face in Europe and indeed in the Euro-Atlantic area.

    /// END ACT ///

    The E-U summit meeting last Friday in Helsinki agreed that NATO is the main defense organization for its members but they want a separate capability to act if NATO and the United States do not want to be involved.

    // OPT //

    Turkish officials are concerned they would be not be involved in planning a European military operation but as NATO members, Turkey might be involved later if NATO's intervention was needed. // END OPT // The NATO ministers also condemned Russia's threats against unarmed civilians in Chechnya. Secretary General Robertson says the pursuit of a military solution undermines Russia's legitimate goals.

    /// 2nd ROBERTSON ACT ///

    What we are saying is that disproportionate violence in our continent, at this time, is simply not acceptable and that not only is it unacceptable, it is unproductive and it is contrary to the Russian self-interest. So we ask simply that that advice be listened to, because it is in the long-term interests of Russia and the Russian people.

    /// END ACT ///

    The NATO ministers limited themselves to words. As one NATO official says, "We do not have economic sanctions and we are not in the business of issuing empty threats." (Signed)
    NEB/RDP/JWH/WTW 15-Dec-1999 14:34 PM EDT (15-Dec-1999 1934 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

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

    DATE=12/15/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-257194
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Stock prices in the United States were higher today (Wednesday), and once again the trading session was volatile. Over one billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange for the second straight day. V-O-A correspondent Elaine Johanson reports from New York:

    TEXT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 65 points, just over one-half of one percent, closing at 11-thousand-225. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose nine points. The Nasdaq composite gained more than one percent, but fell short of another record close after the big sell-off in technology on Tuesday. The market was able to rally but it was tentative and done mostly on the backs of a handful of big name stocks. Microsoft shares reached an all-time high after the software giant announced it has finally completed work on its "Windows 2000" operating system. Microsoft is a component of the Dow Jones. It is also traded in the Nasdaq market.

    /// OPT ///

    Analyst Al Goldman says stock market volatility is expected at this time of year, but the overall look is still upward:

    /// GOLDMAN ACT ///

    The market has been "backing and filling" (up and down) for the last week. But this is a normal, in our opinion, action for the market this time of December and usually leads into a good year end rally.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    The U-S economy is still growing. A new report shows industrial production was up three-tenths of one percent in November.

    /// REST OPT ///

    Cisco shares fell after the number one maker of computer networking systems warned of a slowing in sales growth. Meanwhile, Oracle stock soared to a new high after the leading database software company reported quarterly earnings rose 40 percent, surpassing even the most optimistic predictions. Exxon Mobil - the world's largest publicly owned oil company - says it will cut almost 16-thousand jobs over the next two years. This is seven-thousand more jobs than Exxon and Mobil estimated when they announced their merger last year. Number one automaker General Motors has confirmed that it submitted a preliminary proposal to Daewoo - South Korea's second largest carmaker. G-M would like to buy all of Daewoo's domestic and most of its international operations. General Motors has not made clear whether it would be willing to assume Daewoo's debt. The South Korean company escaped bankruptcy this year after its creditors agreed to delay repayment of more than eight billion dollars. NEB/EJ/LSF/TVM/JP 15-Dec-1999 16:47 PM EDT (15-Dec-1999 2147 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [04] YEARENDER: NATO CHALLENGES BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=12/15/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-45010
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// Eds: This is the second yearender on NATO. The first report (5-44986 issued 12-14) dealt solely with its air campaign in Kosovo. ///

    INTRO: This past year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - or NATO - waged a war, elected a new secretary-general and celebrated half a century of existence. In this report, National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at the main developments surrounding NATO in the past 12 months and some of the challenges facing the alliance in the months ahead.

    TEXT: During most of 1999, NATO was at the forefront of international news. For 78 days, NATO planes hit targets in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo - the western alliance's first offensive military campaign against a sovereign state. NATO's goal was to end what western officials described as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kosovar Albanians. This past year, the western alliance also expanded its membership from 16 to 19 nations, taking in three former Warsaw Pact states: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. NATO marked its 50th anniversary by holding a summit meeting in Washington D-C and elected former British Defense Secretary George Robertson as its new Secretary-General, replacing Javier Solana - who became Europe's first high representative for Security and Foreign Policy. Paul Beaver - senior analyst with the British publication "Jane's Defense Weekly" - says Mr. Robertson is the perfect choice for NATO's top job because he is accepted by all sides and is seen as a tough and pragmatic operator.

    /// BEAVER ACT ///

    He has, after all, had to suffer 25 years of the Scottish Labor Party in the United Kingdom - perhaps the most fractious and fractured political party in Britain - and he has got through that with flying colors. He has got through Kosovo so well. He has struck up a very good relationship with Bill Cohen, the U-S defense secretary, with his French opposite number, with his German opposite number, with his Italian opposite number. They all respect him.

    /// END ACT ///

    Western military analysts say Mr. Robertson faces tough challenges at NATO's helm. One of his tasks in the months ahead is to mend relations with Russia following the Kosovo campaign. Moscow strongly criticized NATO's military operation in the Yugoslav province and broke off high-level contacts with the western alliance as a result of the bombing. Russian officials have also been very critical of NATO's expansion eastward, seeing it as a direct threat to the country's security. In a recent V-O-A interview, Secretary Robertson made clear he will work hard to ease tensions between NATO and Russia stemming from Kosovo and enlargement.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    Russia's concerns are based in many ways on misconceptions about NATO's role. NATO is not interested in offensive capabilities. It is a defense organization and always has been. And therefore, by bringing in these new countries into membership of the Atlantic Alliance, we stabilize many of the areas around Russia's borders. We have given a degree of certainty and predictability to Russia's relations with its neighbors. So I will seek to reassure Russia that NATO enlargement has got benefits for Russia in terms of that stability it will produce. And I hope eventually they will see there is reason in that, just as I believe they have come to see that the last round of enlargement did not produce any of the fears they had anticipated.

    /// END ACT ///

    Mr. Robertson says invitations to join NATO's next round of expansion will probably be issued during the alliance's summit meeting in 2002. Analysts say in addition to Russia and enlargement, the western alliance faces other challenges in the years ahead. NATO expert George Perkovich says one of those involves the exact role to be played by Europe and the United States in an ever-expanding alliance.

    /// PERKOVICH ACT ///

    There is a tension growing between the United States and France and Germany and other key NATO actors - and that tension is around the U-S effort, sometimes, to unilaterally dictate world politics and policies and a growing resistance and resentment toward that from the (European) continent. So how that plays in NATO will be very interesting. That is of a piece with the American frustration with the European allies for not spending enough money on defense and not having defense forces that are compatible enough with the U-S, to the point where the U-S feels it has to do all the military work. And so between those two sets of issues, there is a lot of potential for tension and disharmony over the coming years.

    /// END ACT ///

    In the V-O-A interview, Secretary Robertson made clear Europe must bear more of the military burden - in his words - to rebalance NATO and make the alliance much more effective than it is today. (Signed)
    NEB/ADEN/JP 15-Dec-1999 14:49 PM EDT (15-Dec-1999 1949 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America
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