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Voice of America, 97-04-13

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ALBANIA REACT (S ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] ALBANIA / PRODI (L) BY KYLE KING (TIRANA)
  • [03] IRAN/EUROPE (S &L) BY JESSICA JONES (CAIRO)
  • [04] CROATIA ELECTION/SERBS (L) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (VUKOVAR)
  • [05] CROATIA ELECTION UPDATE (S) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (VUKOVAR, CROATIA)
  • [06] POPE FIRST DAY WRAP BY CHRIS ONEIL (SARAJEVO)
  • [07] BOSNIA / POPE UPDATE (L-ONLY) BY CHRIS O'NEILL (SARAJEVO)

  • [01] ALBANIA REACT (S ONLY) BY VICTOR BEATTIE (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=4/12/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212806***
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// RE-RUNNING TO INCLUDE DROPPED NAME IN INTRODUCTION ///

    INTRO: AN AMERICAN ANALYST ON EASTERN EUROPE, J A M E S C R O S S, THE RETURN TO TIRANA OF ALBANIA'S WOULD-BE KING LEKA THE FIRST (SATURDAY) APPEARS TO BE A SIGN OF THE EXTENT OF THE DESPERATION IN THE BALKAN COUNTRY. V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS THE KING'S RETURN CAME AS AN ITALIAN-LED MULTI-NATIONAL HUMANITARIAN FORCE BEGINS TAKING UP POSITIONS IN ALBANIA:

    TEXT: MR. CROSS (OF HEIDELBERG COLLEGE, OHIO) SAYS THE RETURN OF THE PRETENDER TO THE ALBANIAN THRONE IS THE SIGN OF THE DESPERATION OF THE ALBANIAN PEOPLE:

    ///CROSS ACTUALITY///

    WHAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR IS SOME SALVATION FROM WHEREVER IT MAY COME. THE SITUATION BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THE EXISTING GOVERNMENT LEADS THEM TO LOOK ANYWHERE AND GRAB ONTO POSSIBLE HOPE AT THIS STAGE.

    ///END ACTUALITY///

    MR. CROSS SAYS THE WELCOME GIVEN THE WOULD-BE KING'S RETURN FROM EXILE IN SOUTH AFRICA UNDERSCORES THE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING IN ALBANIA OF DEMOCRACY AND FREE-MARKET REFORM. THE 57-YEAR OLD LEKA URGED THE NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW A REFERENDUM SO THE PEOPLE CAN DECIDE WHETHER THEY WANT A REPUBLIC OR A MONARCHY. HE PLEDGED TO RESPECT THE OUTCOME SUGGESTING HE COULD UNIFY THE NATION.

    LEKA WAS AN INFANT WHEN HIS LATE FATHER, KING ZOG, FLED FASCIST ITALY'S TAKEOVER IN 1939. HE RETURNED BRIEFLY TO ALBANIA IN 1993, BUT WAS QUICKLY DEPORTED. THIS TIME, HE WAS ALLOWED BY AUTHORITIES TO RETURN.

    ASKED WHY HE RETURNED AT THE TIME HUNDREDS HAVE DIED IN VIOLENCE SPARKED BY THE COLLAPSE OF HIGH-RISK GET-RICH INVESTMENT SCHEMES, LEKA SAID HIS PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING. HIS ARRIVAL COINCIDES WITH THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE FIRST ELEMENTS OF AN ITALIAN-LED FORCE TO DISTRIBUTE FOOD AND OTHER EMERGENCY AID. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SD
    12-Apr-97 7:02 PM EDT (2302 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] ALBANIA / PRODI (L) BY KYLE KING (TIRANA)

    DATE=4/13/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212818
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER ROMANO PRODI SAYS THE MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE PREPARING TO DEPLOY IN ALBANIA COULD HELP BRING ABOUT A REBIRTH OF THE IMPOVERISHED BALKAN NATION. MR. PRODI'S COMMENTS CAME DURING A BRIEF VISIT TO ALBANIA, WHERE HE MET WITH OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS THE MISSION OF THE ITALIAN-LED MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE. KYLE KING REPORTS FROM TIRANA.

    TEXT: THOUSANDS OF CHEERING ALBANIANS LINED THE STREETS TO GREET THE ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER, WHO BEGAN HIS BRIEF VISIT WITH A STOP IN THE PORT CITY OF VLORE, ONE OF THE STRONGHOLDS OF THE REBELS WHO CONTROL MOST OF SOUTHERN ALBANIA. THERE, HE AND PRIME MINISTER BASHKIM FINO DISCUSSED THE ROLE OF THE ITALIAN-LED MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DEPLOYING IN SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS TUESDAY.

    MR. PRODI SAID HE WANTED A RAPID, EFFICIENT, AND PEACEFUL DEPLOYMENT OF THE SIX-THOUSAND-MAN FORCE, A TASK EXPECTED TO TAKE ABOUT 10-DAYS. THE TROOPS ARE FROM ITALY, GREECE, FRANCE, TURKEY, SPAIN, AUSTRIA, ROMANIA, AND DENMARK. THE FORCE WILL BE CHARGED WITH PROTECTING AID SHIPMENTS AND TRYING TO HELP RE-ESTABLISH ORDER.

    SPEAKING AT A NEWS CONFERENCE IN TIRANA AFTER TALKS WITH EMBATTLED PRESIDENT SALI BERISHA, MR. PRODI SAID ITALY DID NOT WANT THE MISSION TO GET CAUGHT UP IN INTERNAL ALBANIAN POLITICS.

    /// BEGIN PRODI ACT ///

    I DO NOT WANT TO INTERFERE IN INTERNAL ALBANIAN POLICY. WE ARE NOT HERE TO BRING OUR DIFFERENCES OR TO MAKE THE SITUATION WORSE. ITALY IS NOT IN FAVOR OF ONE (FACTION) OR ANOTHER. ITALY WANTS TO HELP ALBANIA TO RECONSTRUCT THE STATE AND TO HAVE QUICK, DEMOCRATIC, TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. PRODI SAID THE MULTI-NATIONAL SECURITY FORCE COULD HELP RESTORE ORDER AND COULD AID IN -- WHAT HE CALLED -- THE RE-BIRTH OF ALBANIA, WHICH HAS BEEN TORN BY WEEKS OF VIOLENT UNREST. NEARLY 300 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE CHAOS FOLLOWING THE COLLAPSE OF GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES AND THE BREAKDOWN OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL.

    REBELS WHO CONTROL THE SOUTH OF THE COUNTRY ARE DEMANDING THE RESIGNATION OF PRESIDENT BERISHA, WHO MANY PEOPLE BLAME FOR THE COUNTRY'S PROBLEMS. MR. BERISHA HAS REFUSED TO STEP DOWN, SAYING HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF A SILENT MAJORITY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/KBK/RAE
    13-Apr-97 12:21 PM EDT (1621 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] IRAN/EUROPE (S &L) BY JESSICA JONES (CAIRO)

    DATE=4/13/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212813
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: TENS-OF-THOUSANDS OF IRANIANS MARCHED SUNDAY ON THE GERMAN EMBASSY IN TEHERAN. THEY WERE PROTESTING A GERMAN COURT RULING IRANIAN LEADERS WERE BEHIND AN ASSASSINATION IN 1992 IN BERLIN. JESSICA JONES REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU THE RULING LED TO A RUPTURE IN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH EUROPE.

    TEXT. WITNESSES REPORTED HUGE CROWDS OF IRANIAN PROTESTERS PACKED THE MAIN STREETS OUTSIDE THE GERMAN EMBASSY FOR SEVERAL BLOCKS IN EVERY DIRECTION. THEY CALLED FOR THE DOWNFALL OF GERMANY, THE UNITED STATES, AND ISRAEL.

    IRAN'S OFFICIAL NEWS AGENCY SAID SIMILAR PROTEST RALLIES SPREAD TO OTHER IRANIAN CITIES. OFFICIALS CANCELLED RELIGIOUS CLASSES IN THE HOLY CITY OF QOM TO ALLOW SEMINARIANS TO TAKE PART THE PROTESTS.

    LAST THURSDAY A GERMAN COURT FOUND AN IRANIAN AND THREE LEBANESE GUILTY OF THE MURDER OF A KURDISH DISSIDENT AND THREE COMRADES IN 1992 IN BERLIN. THE COURT ACCUSED IRANIAN LEADERS OF BEING BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION. IRAN DENIED THE CHARGE, BUT GERMANY WAS NOT SATISFIED AND RECALLED ITS AMBASSADOR TO IRAN.

    MOST EUROPEAN UNION NATIONS, ALONG WITH CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, AND AUSTRALIA, ALSO ORDERED THEIR AMBASSADORS HOME. THE UNITED STATES HAS ALREADY BROKEN RELATIONS WITH IRAN, ACCUSING IT OF SPONSORING INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

    DESPITE WIDESPREAD ANTI-GERMAN DEMONSTRATIONS IN IRAN, THE COUNTRY'S PRESIDENT, HASHEMI RAFSANJANI, DESCRIBES THE DIPLOMATIC ROW WITH GERMANY AS A PASSING STORM. GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER KLAUS KINKEL SAYS ALTHOUGH GERMANY IS UPSET OVER TEHERAN'S SUSPECTED CONNECTION WITH POLITICAL MURDER, IT HAS NO DESIRE TO CUT ITS LONG DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND TRADING LINKS WITH IRAN. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JJ/DW/RAE
    13-Apr-97 11:39 AM EDT (1539 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] CROATIA ELECTION/SERBS (L) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (VUKOVAR)

    DATE=4/13/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212822
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: CROATIANS VOTED SUNDAY IN NATIONWIDE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS THAT, FOR THE FIRST TIME, INCLUDED THE U-N ADMINISTERED ENCLAVE OF EASTERN SLAVONIA, SEIZED BY REBEL SERB FORCES AT THE OUTSET OF THE BALKAN WAR SIX YEARS AGO. BUT MANY OF THE REGION'S MOSTLY SERB INHABITANTS FOUND THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS SUNDAY. AND U-N OFFICIALS HAVE DECIDED TO EXTEND THE VOTING INTO A SECOND DAY. FROM THE REGIONAL CAPITAL, VUKOVAR, V-O-A'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS.

    TEXT: ELECTION DAY IN EASTERN SLAVONIA BEGAN ON AN INAUSPICIOUS NOTE. THE BALLOTS AND BALLOT BOXES FAILED TO SHOW UP ON TIME, DELAYING THE OPENING OF MOST POLLING STATIONS. BUT THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST OF MANY PROBLEMS.

    AS SERB RESIDENTS LINED UP TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS IN THIS WAR-RAVAGED TOWN, SUBSTANTIAL NUMBERS FOUND THAT THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE VOTER REGISTRATION LISTS, COMPILED BY THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT.

    SOME WERE TOLD THEY HAD SIMPLY GONE TO THE WRONG POLLING STATION. BUT OTHERS FOUND THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON ANY VOTER LISTS.

    /// ACT, SERB VOTER IN SERBO-CROAT ///

    ONE SERB VOTER SAID NEITHER HE NOR HIS WIFE WERE ON THE LISTS. AS HE MARCHED ANGRILY OUT OF THE POLLING STATION, HE SAID, IT IS AS THOUGH WE SIMPLY DO NOT EXIST.

    SERB POLITICAL LEADERS HERE BLAMED THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT FOR THE IRREGULARITIES, ACCUSING ZAGREB OF ATTEMPTING TO MANIPULATE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS.

    BUT U-N OFFICIALS SAID MOST OF THE PROBLEMS WERE ADMINISTRATIVE IN NATURE. AND THEY SAID LOCAL SERB LEADERS ARE AT LEAST PARTLY TO BLAME BECAUSE THEY WAITED UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ENDORSE SERB PARTICIPATION IN THE VOTE.

    THE CHIEF U-N ADMISTRATOR HERE, AMERICAN DIPLOMAT JACQUES KLEIN, PLEDGED THAT ALL SERB RESIDENTS WHO HAVE OBTAINED CROATIAN CITIZENSHIP DOCUMENTS WILL BE ABLE TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEIR NAMES APPEAR ON THE VOTER LISTS. AND A SHORT TIME LATER, MR. KLEIN ANNOUNCED THE EXTENSION OF THE VOTING THROUGH MONDAY.

    /// KLEIN ACT ///

    LET ME JUST SAY THAT WE WILL DO THIS, AND WE WILL DO IT UNTIL WE GET IT RIGHT.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE ELECTION SETS THE STAGE FOR THE RESTORATION OF CROATIAN SOVEREIGNTY OVER EASTERN SLAVONIA IN JULY, AND THE RETURN OF SOME 80-THOUSAND CROATS EXPELLED FROM THEIR HOMES HERE AT THE OUTSET OF THE FIGHTING.

    IN CONTRAST TO THE SOMBER, ANGRY MOOD AMONG SERB VOTERS, MANY OF THE CROAT REFUGEES WERE SMILING BROADLY AS THEY CAST THEIR BALLOTS IN NEARBY OSIJEK.

    /// MATKO ACT, IN SERBO-CROAT ///

    "THIS ELECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME," SAID CROAT MATKO DRAGICIVIC, AS HE EMERGED FROM THE POLLING BOOTH, "BECAUSE IT MEANS I WILL SOON BE ABLE TO RETURN TO MY HOME."

    REFLECTING A SENTIMENT VOICED BY MANY OF THE CROAT REFUGEES HERE, MR. DRAGICIVIC SAID IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO LIVE SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE SERBS AGAIN. "WE WERE AT WAR FOR SIX YEARS," HE SAID, "AND IT WILL TAKE AT LEAST THAT LONG TO FORGIVE THEM FOR WHAT THEY DID TO US." TO FORGET, HE ADDED, WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER.

    THE SERBS HERE IN VUKOVAR ARE WELL AWARE OF THOSE SENTIMENTS. AND MANY SAY THEY ARE NOT SURE WHETHER THEY WILL REMAIN IN THE AREA ONCE CROATIA REGAINS CONTROL.

    /// ACT, SERB WOMAN, IN SERBO-CROAT ///

    "I HAVE LIVED HERE MORE THAN 70 YEARS AND ALL I WANT IS PEACE," SAID THIS ELDERLY SERB WOMAN, TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER CHEEKS AS SHE CLUTCHED HER HUSBAND'S ARM.

    THE WOMAN SAID SHE HOPES TO REMAIN IN VUKOVAR, BUT FEARS SHE AND HER FAMILY WILL BE FORCED TO LEAVE ONCE THE CROAT REFUGEES RETURN. BEFORE THE WAR, SHE SAID, WE SERBS AND CROATS LIVED IN PEACE. BUT NOW, SHE ADDED, IT IS AS THOUGH THE DEVIL HAS POSSESSED THEIR SOULS.

    WHILE THE U-N PEACEKEEPING FORCE HERE IS SET TO WITHDRAW IN JULY, INTERNATIONAL MONITORS WILL REMAIN IN THE AREA UNTIL THE YEAR 2000, TO ENSURE THAT THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT HONORS ITS PLEDGE TO PROTECT THE LIVES, RIGHTS AND PROPERTY OF THE SERB MINORITY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/RAE/RRM
    13-Apr-97 3:40 PM EDT (1940 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] CROATIA ELECTION UPDATE (S) BY DOUGLAS ROBERTS (VUKOVAR, CROATIA)

    DATE=4/13/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212823
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: VOTERS IN CROATIA WENT TO THE POLLS SUNDAY TO ELECT LOCAL AND REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES AND THE 63-SEAT UPPER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT. FOR THE FIRST TIME, SERB RESIDENTS OF THE U-N ADMINISTERED ENCLAVE OF EASTERN SLAVONIA WERE ENTITLED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VOTE, AHEAD OF THE AREA'S RETURN TO CROATIAN CONTROL IN JULY. BUT AS WE HEAR FROM V-O-A'S DOUGLAS ROBERTS IN THE REGIONAL CAPITAL, VUKOVAR, U-N OFFICIALS WERE FORCED TO EXTEND THE VOTING INTO A SECOND DAY BECAUSE MANY SERBS FOUND THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS.

    TEXT: SUNDAY'S VOTING HERE PROVED A NIGHTMARE FOR U-N OFFICIALS.

    THE BALLOTS AND BALLOT BOXES ARRIVED LATE, DELAYING THE OPENING OF MANY POLLING CENTERS. THERE WERE ALSO MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE REGISTRATION LISTS, LEAVING MANY WOULD-BE SERB VOTERS FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY. UP TO 40 PERCENT OF THE SERBS ARRIVING TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS AT SOME LOCAL POLLING CENTERS FOUND THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE LISTS.

    SERB POLITICAL LEADERS HERE BLAMED THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT, WHICH COMPILED THE VOTER LISTS. THEY ACCUSED ZAGREB OF ATTEMPTING TO MANIPULATE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION.

    BUT THE CHIEF OF THE U-N ADMINISTRATION, AMERICAN DIPLOMAT JACQUES KLEIN, SAID THE PROBLEMS WERE LARGELY ADMINISTRATIVE. AND HE SAID SERB LEADERS WERE AT LEAST PARTLY TO BLAME BECAUSE THEY WAITED UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO ENDORSE SERB PARTICIPATION IN THE VOTING.

    MR. KLEIN INSISTED THAT THE PROBLEMS CAN BE RESOLVED. AND SHORTLY BEFORE ANNOUNCING THE EXTENSION OF THE VOTING THROUGH MONDAY, HE PLEDGED THAT ALL SERBS WHO HAVE OBTAINED CROATIAN CITIZENSHIP DOCUMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/DBR/RAE/RRM
    13-Apr-97 3:42 PM EDT (1942 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] POPE FIRST DAY WRAP BY CHRIS ONEIL (SARAJEVO)

    DATE=4/12/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212808***
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /// RE-RUNNING TO DELETE WORD IN 2ND GRAF OF THE TEXT ///

    INTRO: POPE JOHN PAUL HAS ARRIVED IN BOSNIA FOR A TWO-DAY VISIT AND SECURITY HAS BEEN INTENSIFIED. CHRIS O'NEIL REPORTS FOR V-O-A FROM SARAJEVO THAT BOSNIAN POLICE FOUND LAND MINES AND PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES ALONG THE ROUTE THE PONTIFF WAS TO TAKE FROM THE AIRPORT SHORTLY BEFORE HIS ARRIVAL.

    TEXT: "LONG LIVE THE POPE" RANG THE VOICES OF THOSE GATHERED OUTSIDE THE CITY'S MAIN CATHEDRAL AS POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND EMERGED FROM A SPECIAL MASS. OUTSIDE OF SHOWING A LITTLE FATIGUE FROM TRAVEL, THE PONTIFF SHOWED NO SIGN OF ANXIETY AS HE RUBBED HEADS AND ALLOWED HIS HANDS TO BE KISSED BY DOZENS OF THE FAITHFUL.

    INSIDE THE CATHEDRAL, THE PONTIFF ALMOST PLEADED WITH HIS FOLLOWERS TO GIVE UP THE OPTION OF WAR IN ORDER TO SOLVE FUTURE CONFLICT. HE PRAISED THE EFFORTS OF MUSLIMS, ORTHODOX SERBS, AND HIS OWN ROMAN CATHOLIC CROATS IN WORKING TOGETHER TO REBUILD BOSNIA.

    //POPE LANGUAGE ACT//

    THE POPE SHOWED NO EVIDENCE OF FEAR, EVEN WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT SOME UNKNOWN PERSON HAD PLANTED DEADLY EXPLOSIVES ALONG HIS MOTORCADE ROUTE EARLIER IN THE DAY. THEY WERE DISCOVERED AND DEFUSED ONLY HOURS BEFORE HIS PLANE LANDED AT SARAJEVO AIRPORT.

    SARAJEVO POLICE ARE CONTINUING THEIR SEARCH FOR CLUES INTO THE PLANTING OF THOSE MORE THAN 20 ANTI-TANK MINES UNDERNEATH A KEY BRIDGE ALONG THE POPE'S MOTORCADE ROUTE. SO FAR, NO ONE HAS CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY. AUTHORITIES CONFIRMED THE EXPLOSIVES WERE TIED TOGETHER AND CONNECTED TO A TIMER AND A BACKUP REMOTE CONTROL DEVICE. POLICE SAY WITNESSES HAVE REPORTED SEEING AN UNIDENTIFIED PERSON AT THE SIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE. MEANWHILE, THE POPE IS SPENDING THE EVENING AT THE ARCHDIOCESE. HE'LL PERFORM SUNDAY MASS AT THE CITY'S OLYMPIC STADIUM. (SIGNED)
    NEB/CO/CB-T/SD
    12-Apr-97 10:13 PM EDT (0213 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] BOSNIA / POPE UPDATE (L-ONLY) BY CHRIS O'NEILL (SARAJEVO)

    DATE=4/13/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-212826
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    // EDITORS: THIS SIMPLY UPDATES THE INTRO OF CR-2-212819 TO REFLECT POPE'S RETURN TO ROME //

    INTRO: POPE JOHN PAUL HAS RETURNED TO ROME AFTER A TWO-DAY VISIT TO SARAJEVO. BEFORE LEAVING, THE POPE SAID DURING AN OPEN-AIR MASS SUNDAY THAT FORGIVENESS IS THE WAY TO FIND PEACE FOR BOSNIA. CHRIS O'NEILL REPORTS FROM SARAJEVO, THE AGING POPE SEEMED UN-CONCERNED AT AN APPARENT ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE DURING HIS VISIT.

    TEXT: THE OUTDOOR MASS AT THE CITY'S OLYMPIC STADIUM IN DOWNTOWN SARAJEVO WILL DOUBTLESS BE ONE NOT SOON FORGOTTEN BY THE PONTIFF, OR BY ANY OF THE THOUSANDS OF PILGRIMS WHO CAME TO SEE IT.

    FOR A WHILE, THE WEATHER BECAME THE THREAT, GROWING WORSE. THE POPE'S AIDES HAD TO SHIELD THE PONTIFF WITH A WHITE UMBRELLA FROM A DRIVING SNOWFALL. THE WIND-CHILL FACTOR WAS MINUS-FIVE DEGREES CENTIGRADE. THOSE WINDS NEARLY KNOCKED OVER THE COMMUNION TABLE.

    IT WOULD TAKE MORE THAN FOUL WEATHER TO DAMPEN THE SPIRIT OF THIS TRAVEL-WISE PONTIFF, WHO DID NOT ONCE HESITATE.

    /// ACT OF POPE SINGING RESPONSES ///

    THE WEATHER WAS SOMETHING HEAVY NATO AND POLICE SECURITY COULD DO NOTHING ABOUT. ITALIAN ARMY TROOPS PERFORMED THE MOST OF THE SECURITY TASKS DURING THE MASS, WITH SHARPSHOOTERS AND SPOTTERS ON EVERY MAJOR ROOFTOP NEARBY, AND IN THE SURROUNDING HILLSIDES. FOUR NATO HELICOPTERS KEPT A CONSTANT LOOKOUT ABOVE THE STADIUM, WHILE LOCAL POLICE HALTED TRAFFIC IN THE CENTER OF TOWN FOR MORE THAN FIVE HOURS.

    THE PRECAUTIONS WERE NOT WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION. DESPITE THE POPE'S MESSAGE OF UNITY AND RECONDILIATION, DEEP DIVISIONS REMAIN AMONG THE THREE ETHNIC GROUPS, AND ONE CANNOT FORGET MANY ARE NOT RECEPTIVE TO THE MESSAGE. SATURDAY, ONLY HOURS BEFORE THE POPE'S PLANE ARRIVED, POLICE DISCOVERED MORE THAN 20 EXPLOSIVE DEVICES CONNECTED TO A REMOTE-CONTROLLED TRIGGER DEVICE ALONG THE POPE'S MOTORCADE ROUTE. (SIGNED) NEB/CO'N/DW/RAE
    13-Apr-97 4:25 PM EDT (2025 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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