The Best of RFE/RL Broadcast Service Reporting
Week of June 12-18, 2004
RFE/RL NORTH CAUCASUS SERVICE AIRS INTERVIEW WITH
CHECHEN SEPARATIST LEADER ASLAN MASKHADOV
The North Caucasus service aired the interview, between Maskhadov and North Caucasus Service Director Aslan Doukaev, on Monday, June 14th.
In the interview, Maskhadov gives his assessment of developments in Chechnya in the aftermath of the assassination of the pro-Moscow president Ahmad Kadyrov. Maskhadov ruled out the participation of his supporters in the presidential elections due to be held in Chechnya at the end of August. Maskhadov also claimed that his forces are strong enough to launch big military operations. At the same time, he says, he is open to any negotiations to end the conflict in Chechnya. "We are fighting", Maskhadov told RFE/RL, "to eliminate the danger to the very existence of the Chechen people... So far as other things are concerned, we are prepared to do whatever [the Russians] want us to do, whatever they find advantageous."
Aslan Maskhadov was elected President of the Chechen Republic in 1997, in a democratic vote sanctioned by the Russian government and recognized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Moscow no longer recognizes Maskhadov's authority and calls him and his followers "bandits" and "terrorists." A former Soviet Army officer who served in Vilnius, Maskhadov went underground in 1999 after the second Russian invasion of Chechnya.
** The Director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Aslan Doukaev, may be reached by email at <email@example.com>.
AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER
GIVES RARE INTERVIEW TO RFE/RL
The RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service's exclusive interview with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammedyarov, the first such interview with an Azeri Foreign Minister in years, was conducted and aired on June 11. The interview focused on the death of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Azerbaijan's foreign policy, the country's conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, and events in the neighboring Republic of Georgia.
Mammedyarov told the Azerbaijani Service interviewer that, in President Reagan, the U.S. had lost a "great statesman" for whom the people of Azerbaijan had a "deep respect." On a personal note, he described how President Reagan's visit to Moscow helped him come to study in the US.
On Nagorno-Karabakh, Mammedyarov said that both Armenia and Azerbaijan are trying to put together elements of their ideas that are acceptable to both sides. "It is important," Mammedyarov added, "that the deep distrust and tension between the two neighbors is reduced and calmed down, even gradually, so that the sides can demonstrate real results in their talks."
** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
RFE/RL SOUTH SLAVIC SERVICE INTERVIEWS
FORMER EU ENVOY TO MACEDONIA
The South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service aired on June 13 an exclusive interview with the European Union's (EU) Special Representative to Macedonia, Soren Jessen-Petersen. The interview was Jessen-Petersen's final interview before being appointed to head up the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Jessen-Petersen noted that any delay in the country's decentralization efforts would be a major setback to Macedonian stability and would result in a negative assessment by the European Commission of Macedonia's application to join the EU.
Jessen-Petersen revealed exclusively to RFE/RL that Macedonian authorities will receive the European Commission's questionnaire for candidate status in September 2004. The questionnaire will contain three to four thousand questions. Jessen-Petersen went on to say that he expects that Macedonia will be able to submit its response to the questionnaire by May 2005.
The interview was widely quoted in local media.
** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <email@example.com>.
RFE/RL's RADIO FREE AFGHANISTAN INTERVIEWS
U.S. AMBASSADOR ON KARZAI VISIT
Radio Free Afghanistan (RFA) interviewed the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, regarding Afghan President Hamid Karzai's trip to the U.S., the upcoming elections and the "Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration" (DDR) program. The interview, by Washington correspondent Nazira Karimi, was aired on June 17, while Karzai was still in the U.S.
** The Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Andres Ilves, may be reached by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
RFE/RL TATAR-BASHKIR SERVICE COVERS
RARE KAZAN VISIT BY FINNISH DIPLOMAT
The President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, met with Finland's Ambassador to the Russian Federation Rene Nyberg on June 16, the Tatar-Bashkir Service's Kazan Bureau reported. After the meeting, Amb. Nyberg told RFE/RL that his visit to Kazan was mainly the result of persistent efforts by Okan Daher, the chairman of the Helsinki Tatar Community. Ambassadors to the Russian Federation rarely visit Tatarstan.
President Shaimiev and Amb. Nyberg discussed the possibility of implementing Finnish energy-saving technologies in Tatarstan and attracting more foreign investment to local industries. Amb. Nyberg noted during the meeting that current Russian legislation does not provide sufficient guarantees to protect foreign investments -- a situation that is expected to improve with Russia's planned entry into the World Trade Organization.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service, Ferit Agi, may be reached by email at <email@example.com>.
RFE/RL RUSSIAN SERVICE INVESTIGATIVE SERIES ASKS
"WHO KILLED ZORAN DJINDIC?"
RFE/RL's Russian Service prepared a five-part investigative series for this week's "Vremya Svobody" ("Time of Liberty") program that looked into the circumstances surrounding the March 2003 assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and the Serbian government's ongoing battle with organized crime.
The series, produced by Russian Service special correspondent in Belgrade Aija Kuge and Russian News director Andrei Shary, is filled with exclusive interviews and unique audio documentation of the legal proceedings against those accused of killing the Prime Minister Djindjic -- of what was to be Serbia's "trial of the century." Since the trial began in December, it has been plagued by delays and controversy, including open defiance of the court in late April by members of the notorious police Special Operations Unit. Also known as the "Red Berets," the Special Operations Unit is known to have had close ties to the defendants and has been linked to a series of murders and other atrocities committed during the Milosevic era.
** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. "RFE/RL Review" is a weekly compilation of the best programming produced by the 19 services of the RFE/RL broadcast network. RFE/RL broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming a week in 28 languages to 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.
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