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Year 2001 No. 103, June 15, 2001 ARCHIVE



Protests at EU Summit in Gothenburg

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Protests at EU Summit in Gothenburg

Hail the First Anniversary of the Historic Korean North-South Declaration

US Still Arming Governments Which Abuse Human Rights

The World in Brief

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Protests at EU Summit in Gothenburg

Between 10,000 and 25,000 protesters from anti-EU, anti-US and anti-globalisation organisations are estimated to have converged on Gothenburg in Sweden, which is hosting the first summit of US President George W Bush with EU leaders.

Several hundred demonstrators had already protested near NATO headquarters in Brussels during Bush’s appearance there. Greenpeace said that 30 activists from 12 nations were arrested, including one from Germany who flew a motor-propelled parachute over NATO headquarters, trailing a banner reading "Stop Star Wars".

In Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, many streets were closed in last-minute security checks. It was reported that some protesters had threatened to storm the conference centre.

Seeking to allay the militant spirit of the protesters, Swedish Prime Minister and EU President Goran Persson urged them not to disrupt the meetings despite their anger at Bush’s policies. He said that the EU is "one of the few institutions we can develop as a balance to US world domination", speaking at what was called a "confrontation dialogue". He sought to convince them that, although they hold that the EU serves international business rather than the needs of ordinary people, nevertheless it should be developed to help balance the power of "world capital". To try and elaborate his point, Goran Persson quoted V.I. Lenin several times. The reports do not specify whether he quoted Lenin’s well known analysis that a united states of Europe is necessarily either reactionary or an impossibility.

However, it appears that the environmental and anti-globalisation protesters were not impressed. Goran Persson and three other ministers were met with jeers and foot-stamping rather than a display of comradeship.

Article Index

Hail the First Anniversary of the Historic Korean North-South Declaration

Statement of RCPB(ML), June 15, 2001

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the historic inter-Korean North-South Summit and Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000, our Party joins with progressive opinion the world over in hailing this great event and expressing its firm solidarity with the entire Korean people, who desire above all else the reunification of their homeland and the end of tension and the danger of war on the Korean peninsula.

The June 15 Summit and its Joint Declaration was an event of world-wide and historic significance. It opened up a bright prospect for the reunification of the country, for the ending of the tragic half-century long division of the country and unresolved military confrontation, not to speak of the threat this posed to world peace and stability. In rapid succession, one welcome development after another indicated the progress towards peace and reconciliation, as well as the related normalisation of relations between a number of foreign countries and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Major steps were taken in implementing the Joint Declaration in accord with the agreed principles of independent and peaceful reunification.

At this moment, however, a challenge to these widely acclaimed developments has appeared, mainly as a result of the hard-line policies of the new US administration of President George W. Bush. These policies threaten to block further progress towards Korean reunification, stoke up tension on the Korean peninsula, and threaten world peace with the plan for Nuclear Missile Defence which unjustly targets the DPRK as the "main enemy". These policies show without doubt the determination of the US administration to find a pretext to maintain its aggressor troops in south Korea, as part of its strategic aim to dominate the region. All the facts show that the United States, the main architect of Korea’s division, is today the main block to reunification and reconciliation.

Shamefully, the Blair government, which took the positive step of establishing diplomatic relations with the DPRK late last year, has, almost alone among the EU powers, failed to voice any opposition whatsoever to the bellicose and disruptive policies of the Bush administration.

In such circumstances, our Party joins with all progressive and democratic forces nationally and internationally in condemning the war-like and reactionary stand of the US government. We, as do others, demand that the United States take its bloodstained hands off Korea with immediate effect, withdraw its troops, and stop its interference in the affairs of the Korean people, thus removing the main block to reunification and reconciliation. We condemn also the British government for its tacit support of the US policies and demand that it put its word into deed, carry through and normalise its relations with the DPRK in the spirit of friendship between the peoples and equality between the states, abandoning all intentions towards hostile interference in the affairs of the Korean people as darkly suggested by the previous Foreign Secretary.

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US Still Arming Governments Which Abuse Human Rights

In the wake of the removal of the US from the UN’s Human Rights Commission, a new report shows that the US continues to arm some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, according to the Council for a Liveable World Education Fund.

The report, "Human Rights and Weapons: Records of Selected US Arms Clients", details the human rights records of 16 countries, and the types and amounts of weapons sold to them by the US government. According to the annual report, 78 of the 151 countries that the US approved for weapons sales in 1999 were found to have serious human rights abuses by the standards applied by the US State Department itself that same year.

Based solely on US State and Defence Department data, "Human Rights and Weapons" shows that, despite a commitment in words to democracy and human rights, the US arms regimes with weapons used to perpetrate abuses. Of course, this is not to speak of the crimes US imperialism itself commits, which it is not the aim of the report to address.

For instance, the report states: "Haiti, known for its police brutality and extrajudicial killings, received over $30,000 in riot control ammunition from the Pentagon in 1999. That same year, the State Department licensed US companies to sell over $190,000 worth of ammunition and riot control equipment to Haiti."

Another area of concern raised by the study concerns US training of foreign militaries, known as International Military Education Training (IMET). While not large in dollar value, the human rights records of many Latin American graduates of the School of the Americas, a part of the IMET programme, demonstrates that IMET does not instil respect for human rights in its trainees, despite Pentagon claims to the contrary. Of the 16 countries discussed in Human Rights and Weapons, eleven received IMET.

"Human Rights and Weapons" provides data on US State Department arms export licenses, Defence Department sales and deliveries, IMET and other forms of military aid. The State Department licensed a record $46.9 billion in 1999, a value almost double that of any previous year. However, it is unknown what percentage of these licenses result in actual sales. Pentagon arms deliveries totalled $16.4 billion in 1999, and its arms sales totalled $12.2 million.

The US also exports the rights and the technical data for arms production. This manufacturing and technical assistance – the blueprints, instructions and machinery needed to build American designed weapons, and the rights to produce them – totalled $22.7 billion last year. But, as the report claims, this could foster human rights abuses as well.

For further information, see the website:

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The World in Brief

12-24 June UKRAINE: IMF mission visits to meet new Ukrainian Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh, and assess the economic situation.

13-22 June RUSSIA: IMF mission arrives in Moscow for talks with government and examination of draft budget for 2002.

15-16 June SWEDEN: European Union summit in Gothenburg. Agenda to include Nice treaty, EU enlargement, Irish referendum outcome, the Balkans and the European rapid reaction force.

16 June SLOVENIA: Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W Bush hold their first summit in the Slovene capital, Ljubljana. Bush also meets Slovene President Milan Kucan and Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek.

16-18 June YUGOSLAVIA: All 15 members of UN Security Council visit UN-administered province of Kosova (16-17) and then go on to Belgrade (18) for talks.

16-30 June UKRAINE/BRITAIN: Cossack Express-2001 British-Ukrainian exercise takes place at Yavoriv training ground in Lviv Region, involving 400 troops from the 43rd Infantry Brigade and 5th Division of the British armed forces and 80 soldiers from Ukraine’s 80th Airborne Regiment.

17 June KOREA/CHINA: Lawmakers from North and South Korea meet in Beijing to write a joint indictment to be submitted to an international war crimes trial on US massacres of civilians during the 1950-53 Korean War.

17 June RUSSIA/YUGOSLAVIA: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pays official visit to Belgrade for talks with Yugoslav and Serbian leaders.

17-18 June ESTONIA: European Commission president Romano Prodi pays official visit to Tallinn after EU summit in Sweden, for talks on EU issues.

19 June RUSSIA: Nationwide day of protest by "alternative" trade unions to voice opposition to proposed new labour code.

20 June AFRICA: Organisation of African Unity marks "Refugee Day".

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