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DATE=11/15/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=E-U / CHECHNYA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-256193 BYLINE=RON PEMSTEIN DATELINE=BRUSSELS CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: European Union foreign ministers have condemned what they call Russia's use of indiscriminate force in Chechnya. But as V-O-A Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Brussels, the European Union's common foreign policy is proving stronger in language than in action. TEXT: This was one of the first opportunities for the European Union to show its united voice in world affairs since the appointment of Javier Solana as its high representative. The rhetoric was strong -- the foreign ministers expressed deep concern at the Russian military campaign in Chechnya and condemned all disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force. As one E-U official says, "We don't condemn Russia all the time. However, the strong language in the statement is not backed by any action by the European Union or any threat of action. Instead, there is a suggestion that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe be allowed to open a branch office in Nazran, the capital of Ingushetia, near Chechnya. Finnish Foreign Minister Tarja Harlonen, speaking for the E-U foreign ministers, says sanctions can have an uncertain effect. /// HARLONEN ACT /// If we want to stop the war now, I don't know whether only the sanctions will work. We will think about sanctions, too. The Russians know that, but they [sanctions] are not the miracle key which we will solve the issue immediately. /// END ACT /// The European Union ministers have repeatedly suggested that Russia should begin political negotiations to settle the fighting in Chechnya. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told the European Union Chechnya is an internal matter for Russia alone to decide. Finnish Foreign Minister Harlonen says Chechnya is proving much more difficult than the peace negotiations with Belgrade that ended the fighting in Kosovo. As for the European Union speaking with one voice on foreign policy, Mr. Solana says it will take some time. /// SOLANA ACT /// Of course, we are not going to do miracles in 24 hours, but I can tell you that today has been a very important day for the foreign and security policy of the European Union. /// END ACT /// The more important development was the first joint meeting of the European Union's foreign and defense ministers. They have been trying to work out a framework to give the European Union a separate defense capability from NATO. As a former Secretary- General of NATO, Mr. Solana is leading that effort. The foreign ministers also approved Mr. Solana's appointment as the head of the West European Union, the E-U's powerless defense arm. Mr. Solana is expected to meld the two organizations so the European Union may one day have the military capability to support the strong language of its statements. (Signed) NEB/RDP/JWH/WTW 15-Nov-1999 14:27 PM EDT (15-Nov-1999 1927 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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