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RFE/RL Review July 15, 2005

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
June 25-July 15, 2005

RFE/RL GIVES REGIONAL REACTION TO LONDON BOMBINGS All RFE/RL Services covered the deadly bombing attacks in London July 7 and its continuing aftermath of reaction and investigation. Coverage also included analysis of Muslim populations in Europe, religious tolerance, containing extremists, the international war against terrorism, and related topics. Language service correspondents in the broadcast region, particularly in countries with Muslim populations, obtained exclusive interviews with local politicians and experts.
In immediate reaction on July 8, Hassan Amankulov, official representative of the Kazakh government's Religious Affairs Office told an RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service correspondent in Astana that, "It is wrong to connect terrorism, fundamentalism or extremist deeds to Islam. If those who did it [London bombings] really proclaim that they committed this act in the name of Islam, we do not consider them Muslims. Our Prophet, may He be blessed, says: 'If you kill just one person, you are guilty as equally as if you'd killed the whole of humankind." Deputy chief of the Kazakh presidential administration Marat Tajin said, in an exclusive interview, that "the problem is not in the terror attack itself, but in a clash of two value systems, two ideologies, two approaches to living in the modern world."
A Bishkek-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service spoke to Galina Kulikova of Kyrgyzstan's Menin Olkom (My Country) party who said her party is "deeply appalled at this terrorist act" and that "when this happens far away and doesn't affect people in your country, it is still painful, but it doesn't hurt so much. Now that it has happened in their country (in Britain) and they have understood that they should speak less and do more, I think both Europe and America will take a tougher stand in working together to fight terrorism."
In Tajikistan, Deputy Chairman of Tajikistan's Islamic Revival Party Muhiddin Kabiri told a Dushanbe correspondent of RFE/RL's Tajik Service that "the Islamic Revival party of Tajikistan strongly condemns the recent tragic incidents that happened in Great Britain, especially the killing of a number of innocent citizens and the wounding of [hundreds] of people. [The Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan] considers [the attacks] a criminal act." He added that "the criminals, especially those who are behind such a terrible crime have no religion and do not belong to any nation. They should be recognized as criminals and be brought to justice."
A Kabul-based RFE/RL correspondent for Radio Free Afghanistan covered a July 8 news conference in Kabul, at which Afghan President Hamid Karzai said: "In yesterday's bombing, they've [the perpetrators] killed Muslims, they've killed Christians, they've killed Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, everybody. This is an attack, not against the city, this is an attack, not against a nation, this was an attack against the whole of mankind." He said "terrorism is attacking mankind everywhere. They attack schools in Afghanistan, they attack mosques in Afghanistan, they attack school children in Afghanistan, they attack ulama-clergy, the tribal chief and the common people. They've done the same elsewhere in the world and yesterday they perpetrated the same atrocity in London." Karzai appealed for a united, intensified fight against terrorism, saying: "It time for us, the whole of mankind, to get together and stopped them wherever they are. It's time for us to go to the roots of terrorism -- where they are produced -- and stop them there, without exception."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at a press conference in Moscow on July 8, expressed similar sentiments. He said: "We should intensify practical measures (to combat terrorism). A lot is already being done but we need to do more. We should make sure in practice that terrorists and their accomplices, those who incite, organize and abet terrorist acts, can never find refuge anywhere."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Merhat Sharipzhan, may be reached by email at <>; the Director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, may be reached at <>; the Director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, Massoumeh Torfeh, may be reached at <>; the Acting Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached at <>; the Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached at <>

KYRGYZ SERVICE SCOOPS ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNER IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS RFE/RL's Radio Azattyk was an important news source for Kyrgyz before, during and after that country's July 10 presidential election. Its importance was underscored at 07:30 Bishkek time on July 11, when the Kyrgyz Service aired a live interview with the chairman of the Central Election Commission, Tuigunaaly Abdyraimov who announced that acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev had won a landslide victory with almost 89 percent of the vote (audio at; report at The CEC put out its official announcement one half-hour later.
On July 10, the Kyrgyz Service had correspondents in all Kyrgyz regions, reporting on turnout and process. RFE/RL reported that, in Bakiev's home region in southern Kyrgyzstan, he received some 95 percent of votes in both Osh and Jalalabad. Turnout in those cities was also the highest in the election, at just under 90 percent.
RFE/RL Central News correspondent Gulnoza Saidazimova was in Bishkek and covered Bakiev's first news conference since the vote, reporting that Bakiev questioned the continued presence of U.S. troops at a military base they have used since 2001 (
Just before the election on July 8, Radio Azattyk aired a program that was consisted of an exclusive interviews with all the presidential candidates who answered the same questions. The content of their answers were immediately put into English web site of RFE/RL (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, may be reached by email at <>.

RFE/RL FIRST WITH REPORTS ON DOWNED HELICOPTER RECOVERY RFE/RL's Washington correspondent Andrew Tully broke the news June 30 of a rescue team recovering the remains of 16 U.S. soldiers, who died when their helicopter crashed in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan ( The U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down two days earlier by rocket- propelled grenades. On board was a U.S. special commando team intended to strengthen U.S. troops in "Operation Red Wing," a mission against Al-Qaeda fighters near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents in the region, who were following the story, were arrested by Afghan security forces along with an AP correspondent and a driver with AP and held in detention for more than one week. Ruhollah Anwari reports for RFA from the Konar province and was on assignment with RFA correspondent Shir Shah Hamdard from Jalalabad. Both were arrested July 1 in the Konar provincial capital of Asa'ad Abad. The two were released on July 10.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Central News department, Kestutis Girnius, may be reached by email at <>; the Acting Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached at <>.

AFGHAN BROADCASTING PREPARES FOR SEPTEMBER ELECTION RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan introduced new programs and a revised broadcast schedule July 14, in preparation for the September 18 elections, to choose delegates for both the first post-Taliban national parliament as well as municipal and local councils.
The regular, weekly Thursday call-in show on July 14 featured four parliamentary candidates who discussed their election platforms. The live, two-hour show, moderated in Prague and Kabul in both of Afghanistan's major languages, Dari and Pashto, is Radio Free Afghanistan's flagship program and enjoys a big, nation-wide audience.
One of the service's new election-related features is a 10-minute, weekly "Follow-Up", designed to inform listeners of progress on actions promised by officials and others appearing on the show. The service has also added two weekly roundtables on election issues that will feature candidates, officials and experts and members of the public. Furthermore, Radio Free Afghanistan is strengthening regional reporting, in order to keep listeners informed of local issues ahead of the elections to local councils.
Another new feature of Radio Free Afghanistan programming is the broadcast of election-related public service announcements. Several times every week, these announcements -- prepared in cooperation with the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) -- inform voters and candidates of procedural requirements and conditions and provide instruction on how to conduct a political campaign.
Information about Afghanistan's September parliamentary and local elections, candidate lists, profiles, parties and platforms are posted on the "Afghanistan Votes 2005-06" microsite on Radio Free Afghanistan's English language website, at

** The Acting Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached by email at <>.

INTERNET NEWS SCOOP FOR RUSSIAN SERVICE ON KREMLIN REPORT RFE/RL's Russian Service broadcast a program July 11 that was picked up and widely quoted by leading Russian media. The program, a discussion with Russian experts on the "Time of Politics" show, gave rare insight into the Kremlin's behind-the-scenes influence on business and views on national sovereignty, the role of the political opposition and other political issues.
Moderated by Moscow-based Russian Service correspondent Mikhail Sokolov, the topic of the program was a "secret report" written by Vladislav Surkov, deputy chief of the Russian presidential administration, about a meeting Surkov had with the "Delovaya Rossiya" (Business Russia) group and a summary of his remarks there that had been published exclusively on the Russian Service website ( The meeting took place in May, but its content remained secret until RFE/RL correspondent Sokolov managed to obtain an exclusive copy of Surkov's report. The report was cited by media across Russia, including the leading dailies "Vedomosti" and "Komsomolskaya Pravda". Most Russian media reprinted large sections of the Surkov report, which was re- published in full on the Russian news websites and The site said publication of the Surkov report was linked or mentioned by at least 32 sites over two days, while another Russian website,, estimated that the number of daily visitors to the Russian Service website site jumped 30 percent after the posting of the Surkov report.
"Nezavisimaya Gazeta" picked up the story on July 13, quoting RFE/RL as the source of Surkov's report. It analyzed the speech, saying: "Surkov's main point is that there is a direct threat to Russia's sovereignty, and 'sovereignty must be safeguarded.' Surkov bases the rest of his arguments on that point... There is the direct objective of fighting terrorism, which threatens our state's integrity. The Caucasus is the priority. Unfortunately, the situation there isn't improving. It's even deteriorating. It's like an underground fire."
The Caucasus, according to Surkov's May speech, isn't the only place where Russia has enemies. In the lead-up to President Putin's early August visit to Finland, Surkov permitted himself to criticize the actions of that country, as well as neighboring Estonia and the bureaucrats of Europe, noting a resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in which Russia was accused of oppressing Finno-Ugric minorities. Surkov described the stance of the Europeans as follows: "I'm not in favor of conspiracy theories, but this was an obviously pre-planned series of measures." International humanitarian organizations came in for their share of criticism as well, with Surkov essentially accusing them of organizing "orange revolutions." In reference to the activities of Freedom House, Surkov said: "Only an idiot would be likely to believe that the mission of that 'office' is purely humanitarian."
According to the May speech re-published on, Surkov views Europeans in general as competitors rather than enemies, but that only makes the battle more heated. "With an enemy, there's the possibility of a hero's death in a war. But losing a competitive battle means being a fool. That's twice as painful."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>.

NORTH CAUCASUS SERVICE GETS NEW INTERVIEW WITH REBEL CHECHEN PRESIDENT SADULLAEV... RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, broadcasting in the Chechen, Avar and Circassian languages, gained an exclusive interview with Chechen rebel president Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev, who vowed that the war with Russia would continue "as long as the Kremlin keeps rejecting Chechen peace proposals." Sadullaev said the Chechen separatist leadership does not approve of attacks on civilians, but admitted there are small rebel groups "seeking their own ways and methods of fighting." RFE/RL broadcast an 8-minute, condensed version of the 42-minute long interview June 30; the Chechenpress News Agency posted a transcript in English of the broadcast interview July 1 (
When asked about future plans, Sadullaev said "As far as the large military operations are concerned - you will find out about them, when they are carried out. And the question, whether an action similar to the Beslan one is planned among these operations, seems to me to be provocative. Unequivocally I declare: the Chechen government does not plan any operations similar to the Beslan one."

** The Director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Aslan Doukaev, may be reached by email at <>.

...RUSSIAN SERVICE INTERVIEWS CHECHEN COMMANDER UMAROV RFE/RL correspondent Andrei Babitski recently traveled to the North Caucasus, where he interviewed Chechen fighters at a mountain camp. Senior Chechen field commander Dokku Umarov told Babitsky, in an exclusive interview broadcast July 14, that "after everything Russia has done in Chechnya over the past six years," he sees no alternative to continued armed resistance (; an English report can be found at Umarov added that, despite losses among the Chechen leadership, there was a constant supply of younger men ready to take their place.
Umarov, who is 40 and who returned from Moscow to join the resistance at the beginning of the first Chechen war 10 years ago, said that: "Until we are freed from beneath the Russian jackboot, I can see no alternative, because there are no other possibilities left to us at the moment, particularly in view of what Russia and the so-called Russian army has done here in the last six years. In my opinion, no honest patriot or citizen of Chechnya can see any other way." He categorically rejected the suggestion that the Chechen population favors the republic remaining part of the Russian Federation, saying that less than 1 percent of Chechens support that option.
But Umarov condemned the recourse to terrorism advocated by fellow field commander Shamil Basaev. Umarov said terrorism "has not undergone any legitimization in the eyes of the Chechen resistance." He added that "we do not have the right" to commit such atrocities. "If we resort to such methods, I think no one will be able to return to a purely human image," he said.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>.

BELARUS SERVICE INVESTIGATES RETURN TO GLORY OF STALIN RFE/RL's Belarusian Service aired a program June 30 on an emerging trend in Belarus to glorify Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. A new, laudatory book about Stalin ("Europe, Bow Before Stalin!") was recently published in Belarus; earlier in June, the name Stalin was restored to the military academy in Minsk.
On June 30, the service sent a correspondent to cover the official dedication of partially-restored World War II fortifications called the Stalin Line -- near Zaslaul, some 30 kilometers from Minsk ( The renewed memorial includes engineering installations, machine-gun pillboxes, and some World War II weaponry. The opening ceremony, before some 10,000 spectators, was followed by a theatrical battle show with mock soldiers dressed in WWII Nazi and Soviet uniforms. The RFE/RL broadcast included interviews with veterans in attendance, comments by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the main speaker at the event, and interviews with people in the audience. Several older respondents said Stalin is part of history and there is nothing wrong in commemorating his name.
The service also interviewed experts, including a historian who said the fortification was of no use in stopping a German advance. The 1941 German invasion caught the new line unfinished and the Stalin Line largely abandoned, fell into disrepair.
A third segment of the program was a roundtable discussion about the Stalin line and the official version that the fortifications played a decisive role in almost stopping the German tanks that were rolling toward Moscow, and about the Gulag legacy Stalin's name evokes ( One of the roundtable participants, Belarus Helsinki Committee Chairwoman Tatsiana Protska, told RFE/RL that "The fact that Stalin's memory is being resurrected in a country says not only that [in the eyes of the country's government] he was one of the most beloved people of the 20th century. To endow memorials [of this type] with his name confirms that [the present Belarusian government] supports the actions perpetrated by this man. We are in fact witnessing the rebirth of a state system [in Belarus] similar to the one Stalin created."

** The Acting Director of RFE/RL's Belarus Service, Bohdan Andrusyshyn, may be reached by email at <>.

ARMENIAN SERVICE MAKES INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES RFE/RL's Armenian Service gained an exclusive interview, broadcast July 11, with sources close to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace negotiations who said announcement of an agreement is close at hand. High-level sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFE/RL that the conflicting parties have already agreed on the key points of a peace deal that could be formalized as early as this year or at the beginning of 2006. At the heart of it, they say, is a proposed referendum, in which Karabakh Armenians would decide whether they want to be independent, become part of Armenia, or return to Azerbaijani rule. The broadcast, which was transcribed and posted in English to the Armenian Service's website (, made headlines in all major papers in Armenia the next day and was picked up by Azerbaijan's leading news agency and reprinted in major newspapers there July 13. The website article was also reprinted on India-Website in India, covered by major Russian media and quoted by UPI.
According to the report, Armenian sources revealed that the referendum would be held within 10 to 15 years of the signing of a peace agreement and would follow the return of five of the seven Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani districts that surround Karabakh. The sources said the Lachin District, which serves as the shortest overland link between Armenia and Karabakh, would remain under Armenian control, while agreement has yet to be reached on the seventh occupied territory, Kelbajar. The Armenians are willing to pull out of Kelbajar only after a date is set for the referendum, while the Azerbaijani side is demanding its liberation, along with that of the five other districts, the sources said. Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and Armenian president Robert Kocharian are set to discuss the referendum issue at their next meeting, scheduled for August 27 in the Russian city of Kazan.
The idea of a referendum has become a hotly-debated issue in Azerbaijan, as well as in Armenia. RFE/RL correspondents in Yerevan interviewed several opposition members of parliament in a broadcast that aired July 13. All were against a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh, agreeing on this point with most politicians and experts in Azerbaijan.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Hrair Tamrazian, may be reached by email at <>.

AZERBAIJANI SERVICE TACKLES NAGORNO-KARABAKH RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service conducted an exclusive interview June 24 with Steven Mann, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Eurasia. Mann commented on the results of the Paris peace talks that took place between the Azeri and Armenian foreign ministers on May 16-17, saying that the sides are closer to an agreement than previously, "but it doesn't mean that peace is around the corner." (
In another exclusive interview, Azerbaijan's deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told the Azeri Service that the chances for peace are better now than ever before, but there is still a long way to go. Similar comments were made by Armenian sources in exclusive interviews with RFE/RL in Yerevan. The two services are working closely and sharing information to remain ahead of the curve on this important developing story.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>.

AZERBAIJANI SERVICE INTERVIEWS FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT On July 13, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service interviewed former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who currently chairs the board of directors of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). Albright traveled to Baku on July 11-14, to stress the importance of free and fair elections in Azerbaijan this fall. Although Albright held a press conference while in Baku, she gave her only exclusive interview to the Azerbaijani Service's Baku Bureau (
In the interview, she expressed the interest in the U.S. in the upcoming poll. "My meetings here would indicate that the United States and nongovernmental organizations and the National Democratic Institute is very interested in moving forward on democratic parliamentary elections. It's the most important thing that Azerbaijan can do to give the people the opportunity to state their views."
During her visit, Albright met with Azeri president Ilham Aliyev and with leaders of the opposition. She offered her view of the opposition, saying, "I have had a very good impression in terms of a sense of political activity or a desire for greater political activity here."
Albright also voiced concern over the composition of Azerbaijan's election commissions, which are currently under the control of the ruling party. "There has been a very consistent message, and the message is the necessity for the Electoral Commission to be a truly independent commission that can help in making clear that the elections are free and fair and open, and a desire for there to be greater diversity in political participation."
Referring to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, she said, "There is the need -- the continued need -- to resolve the issue because it is something that is used by both parties in a way not to move forward in terms of very important democratic reforms. So I hope that there is a resolution."
Some observers compared Albright's visit to Baku to former US Secretary of State James Baker's trip to Georgia in 2003, which was seen as a powerful symbol of international support that helped to galvanize that country's recent political revolution.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>.

SPECIAL ELECTION COVERAGE ON RADIO AZADLIQ RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service launched two special programs July 1, geared to the parliamentary elections scheduled in Azerbaijan for November 6. One program, the weekly "Campaign Train," provides comprehensive coverage of election-related issues, including updates on the election law, activities of the political parties and candidates, developments regarding the organization and administration of the elections and international perspectives and reactions to electoral events.
A second program, calledd "The Fourth Parliament," provides a forum for members of nongovernmental organizations, journalists and others to discuss and debate election-related issues. The first broadcast of "The Fourth Parliament" on July 7 ( featured a roundtable discussion that addressed the election law's ban on nonpartisan monitoring by Azeri groups that receive foreign funds.
Both programs augment the Azeri Service's existing election coverage and are co-produced with Internews-Azerbaijan. In addition, the Service continues to run "The Daily Election Marathon," providing continuous coverage of electoral events; and "1001 Voters," which solicits the views of voters to candidate platforms.
Azerbaijani Service coverage of the campaign can be followed on the service's website, at

** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>.

US OFFICIAL ADDRESSES UZBEKS ON RFE/RL BROADCAST U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Eurasia, Central Asia and the Caucasus Matthew Bryza gave an exclusive interview to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service broadcast July 1 about U.S. policy towards Uzbekistan and the Karimov regime's poor scorecard on political and economic reform. Bryza was interviewed by telephone from Washington by Uzbek Service Director Adolat Najimova and broadcaster Khurmat Babajanov. He emphasized that Washington does not want to be seen as an agent for revolutionary change in the region and is working with all parties in Uzbekistan to bring about gradual political and economic reforms. Bryza also commented on U.S. reaction to Uzbekistan's growing closeness with Russia and China. Bryza's remarks were also broadcast by RFE/RL's Russian Service and other Central Asian services.
The Uzbek Service carried a report July 2 on a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at an OSCE conference in Washington, that Uzbekistan has failed to meet its human rights commitments or live up to its obligations to govern democratically. Bryza gave a second interview to the service to amplify Secretary Rice's comments.
Uzbek opposition leader Muhammad Salih, who lives abroad in exile, underscored Rice's assertions during a recent visit to Washington. The leader of the Erk party told a June 30 briefing at RFE/RL's Washington office that the violent events in Andijon in May underscore the erosion in patience of the Uzbek people toward their harsh, dictatorial government ( Salih urged the United States and the European Union to expand their support for democracy activists in Uzbekistan: "We do not ask for a lot from the West. We want the West to aid the legalization of political parties in Uzbekistan. We would like the West to aid the leaders of the opposition to function in Uzbekistan, to ensure the conduct of fair elections in Uzbekistan and the participation of the opposition in those elections and to ensure the existence of a free press. This in and of itself is enough to ensure the peaceful removal of this anti- democratic regime." He said key Uzbek opposition leaders have united and formed a new group -- the United Uzbek Democratic Coalition -- to press their cause. Salih is chairman of the group. He told the RFE/RL briefing that he has made contacts with Uzbeks linked to government security agencies, to try to ensure that any future demonstrations are not met with violence: "We will not bring the people out into the streets until we are sure that the Andijon events will not be repeated," Salih said.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, Adolat Najimova, may be reached by email at <>.

RADIO FREE IRAQ TRACKS SADDAM'S COUSIN A Radio Free Iraq correspondent in Amman, Jordan, gained an interview a cousin of deposed leader Saddam Hussein, Muzahim Al-Majeed, who lives in Amman ( In the interview, broadcast June 28, Al-Majeed told RFE/RL that he is working on establishing a new political party to participate in the next elections in Iraq.
Al-Majeed, who is related to Hussein through his father, was jailed in 1995 and only released in 2003, after the regime collapsed. He said in the interview that he is organizing the founding conference of the National Salvation Front [Jabhat al-Khalas al-Watani] and that it will be "a party striving for a democratically governed Iraq, for a new, free, and united Iraq".
Asked about the National Salvation Front's position on foreign interests in Iraq, Al-Majeed said: "We will not be against the interests of America, Britain, or others. We will guarantee our [Iraqi] interests and will protect the well-being of the people who will have their interests in our country. We want to preserve the relations but as a relation between two masters. It must not be a relation between a master and a servant. Good and firm relations of mutual respect will be binding between us."

** The Acting Director of Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>.

SREBRENICA ANNIVERSARY DOMINATES BALKAN BROADCASTING... The 10th anniversary of the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian men and boys at Srebrenica dominated broadcasting by RFE/RL's South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) to the Balkans in late June and early July. In the run-up to the official July 12 commemoration, the service aired historical notes recalling the events and circumstances of 1995. On the eve of the anniversary, July 11, SSALS broadcast a half-hour documentary of archival material with the reports and voices of the period and continued the program for two more days.
Two SSALS reporters attended the July 12 ceremonies, which drew an estimated 50,000 people. Mourning crowds lined the route to the cemetery, where 600 bodies from a recently-discovered grave were buried as part of the anniversary commemorations (; a report in English can be found at
On July 12, the service began airing a new, 7-part series examining the role of western intelligence services in Bosnia in 1995 and tackling sensitive issues that still evoke heated debate in the region -- did western governments know about the pending massacre and could it have been prevented. The series is well-researched and well- documented, with interviews with U.S. and regional intelligence experts. It ran in 10-minute segments daily from July 12 through July 17. The biggest Bosnian daily Azaz has asked for a full transcript of the 7-part program and intends to publish the RFE/RL series.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

...SREBRENICA BABY TEN YEARS LATER... "My name is Lejla. I was born in Srebrenica, Bosnia, on July 12, 1995", said Lejla Sirocic, a ten-year-old US citizen who lives in Saint Louis, Missouri. In a moving story filed from Srebrenica by RFE/RL South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) correspondent Sadik Salimovic, Lejla and her family talked about their exodus from Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 and their tense journey to safety (; a report in English can be found at
Lejla's mother Hamida gave birth in a refugee camp, just hours after the Bosnian Serb Army conquered the UN designated "safe haven" in Srebrenica. Amid the havoc and killings of thousands of civilians, a new life was born. Herded on to a bus with other women and children from Srebrenica shortly after the birth and escorted to the Bosnian city of Tuzla, Hamida feared her baby would not survive. Meanwhile, Lejla's father Muhamed, along with some 12,000 other Muslim men, escaped Srebrenica and struggled to evade pursuing Serb death squads. Up to 8,000 Srebrenica men were caught -- then blindfolded, handcuffed and executed. Their bodies were buried in dozens of mass graves around Srebrenica. Muhamed was a lucky survivor but his father went missing and never seen again.
After six day of walking and hiding in the woods in Bosnia, Muhamed finally reached Tuzla and learned he had become a father. The family -- Lejla, Hamida and Muhamed -- moved to the U.S. This month, they returned to Bosnia for the first time since the war, to attend a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica and to visit the memorial complex where some 1,300 men are buried. More then 6,000 are still missing, Lejla's grandfather Abdulah among them.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

...FORMER US ENVOY SPEAKS OUT ON BALKANS RFE/RL's South Slavic &Albanian Languages Service aired an exclusive interview July 4 with James Dobbins, former US envoy to the Balkans ( Commenting on Kosovo, Dobbins emphasized that final status talks should begin this year and that the UN Security Council will have the final say on Kosovo's future. Dobbins noted that agreement will not be easy, given the differences in the position of the United States and those of Russia and China, but said the absence of agreement would not block the resolution of Kosovo's final status.
Dobbins said that, whatever the outcome of UN deliberations, it has to be accepted by the majority of Kosovo inhabitants. "Any outcome that's not accepted by the majority of the people in Kosovo, wouldn't be acceptable for the United States, and at the same time, any solution has to include special protection and arrangements to ensure that minorities, and the Serb minority in particular, are able to live in peace and in dignity," Dobbins said.
Dobbins also criticized Belgrade policy, saying it is "irresponsible" to make a direct linkage between the future status of Kosovo and the Bosnian Serb entity -- Republika Srpska -- and warned against instability. Dobbins said, "Belgrade should think carefully before it tries to promote instability among its neighbors. It's contrary to Serbia's interest to destabilize Bosnia. Serbia has a strong national interest in a peaceful, moderate, modernizing Bosnian state that moves toward membership in the European Union and that retains strong, positive links with Serbia. If one wants to apply the principle of self-determination without any consideration of other factors, one could easily break Serbia up. There are parts of Serbia where Hungarians in the majority, or Albanians in the south of the Republic."
Dobbins also spoke about U.S. policy and continuing engagement in the region. The RFE/RL interview was widely quoted in media throughout the Balkans.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

RFE/RL in the News

U.S. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RECOGNIZED FOR RFE/RL NATIONAL HISTORY DAY EXHIBIT The "News Tribune" of Tacoma, Washington, reported July 13 that three high school students attending Bethel High School, in Spanaway, Washington gained national recognition at the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland with an exhibit about Radio Free Europe. The students laced third in the group exhibit category with their entry, "Radio Free Europe: The Key to Raising the Iron Curtain." Their exhibit will now be displayed at RFE/RL's Prague broadcasting center.

AWARD FOR KAZAKH SERVICE CORRESPONDENT Almaty-based RFE/RL Kazakh Service Correspondent Amangeldy Kenshilik- Uly was recognized in May by the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan for a series of weekly reports he wrote on current trends in Kazakh literature. The programs have been transcribed and published in a book, titled "Qarlyghash - Compilation of Literary Assessments." Kenshilik- Uly was awarded the "International Alash Prize", named after an ancient hero in Kazakhstan's national history.

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