Wednesday 1 December 2004
November 23, 2004
World: Watchdog Says Press Freedoms Eroding
The World Association of Newspapers -- known as the WAN -- says that 10 more journalists have died while working this year worldwide than in all of 2003. It said that press freedoms are under assault at what it calls "an alarming rate," especially in Iraq, China, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. WAN told RFE/RL that deaths of journalists in Iraq make news reporting perilous there, but that reporting is even more dangerous elsewhere.
November 22, 2004
EU: Ministers Meet On Iran, The Middle East, And China
European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels today. Their monthly meeting will this time focus on the nuclear deal three EU member states struck with Iran, the situation in the Middle East after the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and relations with China. A discussion on Belarus is also expected, as are first reactions to the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. RFE/RL takes a look at the ministers' agenda.
November 19, 2004
Belarus: Minsks Avoids UN Resolution On Its Human Rights Record
Belarus has avoided a vote on a proposed UN General Assembly resolution alleging serious violations of human rights by the government. The assembly's Human Rights Committee -- divided over the tactic of single-country resolutions -- voted to adjourn the discussion through a "no-action motion," marking a setback to the European Union and United States, which sponsored the original measure. The no-action motion effectively quashes discussion of Belarus's rights record during this assembly session.
November 15, 2004
Europe: Scholar Says Europe’s Security Policy Becoming 'Easternized'
Prague, 12 November 2004 (RFE/RL) -- There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the "Westernization" of Eastern Europe. The words sometimes seem to conjure up the image of the EU and NATO with new-member states such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic tacked on like a tail. Now comes think-tank scholar and author Tomas Valasek with a new book -- "The Easternization of Europe's Security Policy." Valasek writes that these newcomers bring their own perspectives and policies to the European table. There will be instances, he says, of the Eastern tail wagging the Western dog. RFE/RL interviews Valasek, director of the Brussels office of the independent Center for Defense Information.
November 10, 2004
Analysis: Minsk Wages Propaganda War Against Washington
The 2 November presidential election in the United States has provided Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka with ammunition to attack the U.S. government for transgressions that are usually ascribed by Washington to Minsk; namely, for failing to observe democratic election standards. "The presidential election, according to their [U.S.] standards, are inadmissible for us," Lukashenka said on 4 November. "If we had staged an election like they did in the United States, we would have been crushed a long time ago."
November 09, 2004
East: EBRD Report Finds Former Soviet Oil Economies Booming
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) this week confirmed what many in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia had already suspected -- their economies are booming. In its annual Transition Report, released yesterday, the bank said higher oil and other commodity prices are fueling skyrocketing annual growth for many countries. In fact, the former Soviet Union is now the world's second-fastest-growing region in the world -- behind only China and neighboring countries in Asia. But the high prices won't last forever.
November 09, 2004
Belarus: Critics Target Minsk In Weeks Since Referendum
A storm of criticism has rained on Belarus in the several weeks since the Alyaksandr Lukashenka government won a referendum -- widely denounced as fraudulent -- that will permit Lukashenka to seek another presidential term. The religious news agency Forum 18 reports continued suppression of religious minorities. And international press organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and the International Press Institute are expressing alarm at further suppression of an already controlled press. RFE/RL reports that a variety of government actions are limiting free expression in Belarus.
November 02, 2004
EU: Foreign Ministers To Discuss Iraq, Iran, Russia, Belarus
Today's monthly meeting of European Union foreign ministers will prepare the ground for a visit of interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, timed to coincide with the bloc's summit -- also in Brussels -- on 4-5 November. The meeting will also examine strategy with respect to Iran ahead of a crucial board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) later this month, the situation in the Middle East, an upcoming summit with Russia, and measures to encourage democratic change in Belarus.
October 28, 2004
EU: European Parliament Debates Belarus Policy
The European Union appears to be increasingly frustrated over how to deal with Belarus under president Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Visa bans in the past have not helped, economic sanctions are said to be a "double-edged sword," while assistance to civil society faces growing obstacles. At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, officials and deputies said they expect more from Russia, which appears unwilling to use its leverage to move Belarus toward democratization.