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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 242, 14 December 1995

From: "Steve Iatrou" <siatrou@cdsp.neu.edu>

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] KALASHNIKOVS GO OFF IN SARAJEVO TO CELEBRATE DAYTON AGREEMENT.

  • [2] DID FRENCH DO A DEAL TO FREE PILOTS?

  • [3] PARIS DENIES STORY.

  • [4] UN SQUABBLE OVER EASTERN SLAVONIAN FORCE.

  • [5] RUGOVA SAYS KOSOVO WILL BE ON INTERNATIONAL AGENDA.

  • [6] SERBIAN PARTY BACKS NATO.

  • [7] ROMANIAN AIRLINER CRASHES IN ITALY.

  • [8] ROMANIAN SPOKESMAN ON CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE.

  • [9] MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE COMMITTEE CONTESTS SUPREME COURT RULING.

  • [10] BULGARIAN TRADE UNIONS CLASH WITH GOVERNMENT.

  • [11] NANO ALLOWED TO ATTEND HIS MOTHER'S FUNERAL.

  • [12] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CUSTOMS UNION WITH TURKEY.

  • [13] REACTIONS TO CUSTOMS UNION VOTE.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 242, Part II, 14 December 1995

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] KALASHNIKOVS GO OFF IN SARAJEVO TO CELEBRATE DAYTON AGREEMENT.

    The BBC on 14 December noted that France was anxious to put on a good show to offset the fact that the settlement is primarily an American achievement. The International Herald Tribune added that the Gaullist government wanted to add a diplomatic coup of its own by obtaining mutual diplomatic recognition by Belgrade and Zagreb and by Belgrade and Sarajevo. The BBC reported that Croatia in particular, however, did not want to take any action that could be viewed as endorsing rump Yugoslavia's claim to be the single legal successor to the former Yugoslav federation. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, international media noted that the mood on 14 December was optimistic and that shots were fired in celebration. * Patrick Moore

    [2] DID FRENCH DO A DEAL TO FREE PILOTS?

    There has been much speculation inrecent weeks that French expressions of concern for Sarajevo's Serbs were linked to the issue of the two captured pilots. The Daily Telegraph wrote on 13 December that, in the wake of failed attempts to free the officers, "as the Bosnian peace talks wound up, Belgrade reminded France of its historical friendship with Serbs and asked for 'a gesture.' Mr. [Jacques] Chirac responded by expressing concern that the peace pact did not protect the Sarajevo Serbs. In return, France expected its pilots' release. When this did not follow, Mr. Chirac asked Mr. [Slobodan] Milosevic for their return [by 11 December]." Gen. Jean-Philippe Douin then "flew to Belgrade to handle the negotiations [and] ended by drinking plum brandy with Gen. Ratko Mladic." -- Patrick Moore

    [3] PARIS DENIES STORY.

    International media on 13 December said that the French defense and foreign ministers denied having made any concessions to obtain the two men's release. Nasa Borba on 14 December reported that Mladic wanted to keep the pilots in order to plea bargain with the Hague war crimes tribunal and gave them up only when Milosevic threatened to arrest him if he did not. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] UN SQUABBLE OVER EASTERN SLAVONIAN FORCE.

    A squabble has broken out at the UN over who should police eastern Slavonia, Western agencies reported. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali on 12 December recommended that 9,300 troops be sent to the region under the auspices of a multinational force to be attached to the UN NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR), Hina reported. This proposal contradicts an earlier understanding with the Americans that the east Slavonian force remain a UN operation, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright convinced Boutros-Ghali to downgrade the "recommendation" to a "preference." After the original report was publicly released, Albright called it "misguided and counterproductive" for the secretary-general to try to avoid this operation "because of the risk of exacerbating a negative image of UN activities in the former Yugoslavia." Currently, 1,600 Belgian and Russian peacekeepers serve in eastern Slavonia. -- Michael Mihalka

    [5] RUGOVA SAYS KOSOVO WILL BE ON INTERNATIONAL AGENDA.

    Following a meeting with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel the president of the Kosovar shadow-state Ibrahim Rugova said that Kosovo will be on the international agenda once the Dayton peace agreement has been signed. He said he had been assured of support by Kinkel and previously by the U.S. government, Nasa Borba reported on 14 December. Kinkel, however, is quoted as saying that Bonn does not support Kosovo's breaking away from rump Yugoslavia. Nasa Borba added that Serbian Socialist Party deputy leader Goran Percevic met with the German parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and that the Kosovo conflict was discussed at the meeting. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [6] SERBIAN PARTY BACKS NATO.

    Nasa Borba on 13 December reported that New Democracy supports rump Yugoslavia's membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace program as a means of integrating the rump Yugoslavia into Western institutions. Since it was founded in 1990, it has been the only party in the rump Yugoslavia to have a consistent and "clear pro- European orientation." ND provides critical backing for the governing Socialist Party of Serbia in the Serbian republic's legislature, giving the SPS a de facto majority. A recent spate of remarks by ND member Dusan Mihajlovic stressing the party's support for PfP may be designed to support Milosevic's desire to reintegrate the rump Yugoslavia into the community of nations. -- Stan Markotich

    [7] ROMANIAN AIRLINER CRASHES IN ITALY.

    A Romanian airliner crashed on 13 December near Verona, killing all 41 passengers and eight crew members on board, Romanian and international media reported. The Russian-built Antonov 24 plane caught fire shortly after it crashed about one km beyond the end of the runway at Villafranca airport. -- Matyas Szabo

    [8] ROMANIAN SPOKESMAN ON CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE.

    A high official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told a press conference on 13 December that Romania and Ukraine are not discussing any territorial problems at present, nor is such a discussion on the agenda. Gabriel Gafita said the issue of "historical rights" can be approached in contexts other than that of the bilateral treaty between the two countries. He said the "discussion on Serpent Island has triggered some emotional reactions" and that Romania hoped these "would soon be overcome" now that the two countries' foreign ministers have agreed to work jointly to prepare a summit meeting between their premiers. -- Michael Shafir

    [9] MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE COMMITTEE CONTESTS SUPREME COURT RULING.

    Anatol Petrencu, leader of the Moldovan students' strike committee that organized street demonstrations earlier this year, told BASA-press on 12 December that the committee contests a recent ruling of the Supreme Court that the protests were illegal. The court outlawed the protests because they were held during working hours and blocked traffic on the main Chisinau streets and because some demonstrators were underage. A judge at the trial, Petre Raileanu, told BASA-press that the ruling was final and could not be appealed. -- Michael Shafir

    [10] BULGARIAN TRADE UNIONS CLASH WITH GOVERNMENT.

    Representatives of the major trade unions on 13 December walked out of a meeting of the Council for Trilateral Cooperation, which consists of representatives of the government, employers, and trade unions, Demokratsiya reported the following day. Both Podkrepa and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) disagreed with those parts of the state budget draft for 1996 dealing incomes policy, saying they do not see any chance to reach an agreement with the government on this question. The government wants to deduct 2% social insurance contribution from workers' wages; in the past, employers made all such contributions. The trade unions object to those plans, arguing they will lead to a fall in real incomes. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] NANO ALLOWED TO ATTEND HIS MOTHER'S FUNERAL.

    Imprisoned Albanian Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano was released from jail for 24 hours on 13 December to attend the funeral of his mother, Reuters reported the same day. More than 2,500 people were present at the burial of Marije Nano, with the funeral reportedly turning into a show of support for her son. President Sali Berisha ordered Nano's release after a court had rejected his request. Nano was sentenced for misappropriating Italian aid funds and has three-and-a-half years left to serve, but his guilt is disputed and the Socialists say he is a political prisoner. Amnesty International and international parliamentary bodies have called for Nano's release. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CUSTOMS UNION WITH TURKEY.

    The European Parliament on 13 December approved the customs union accord between the EU and Turkey, international media reported. Some 343 deputies voted in favor of the agreement, 149 against, and 36 abstained. The agreement, which calls for the removal of tariffs on industrial products and other impediments to trade between the EU and Turkey, was signed last March following 20 years of negotiations. It becomes effective on 1 January 1996. The European Parliament initially appeared determined to reject or delay the deal on the grounds that Turkey's human rights record and progress toward democratization was insufficient. Its turnaround stems from the widespread belief that Turkey's pro-Western orientation needs to be shored up. The deal is accompanied by an aid package worth $1 billion to help protect Turkish producers. -- Lowell Bezanis and Stefan Krause

    [13] REACTIONS TO CUSTOMS UNION VOTE.

    Greece expressed its reservations after the European Parliament's vote. Government spokesman Tilemachos Hytiris said Turkey will have to prove that it conforms to EU standards, and he called on the government in Ankara to improve its human rights record. None of the 24 Greek deputies in the European Parliament voted in favor of the agreement. The Cypriot government called on Turkey to withdraw its troops from northern Cyprus. Also on 13 December, some 1,000 Armenians, Cypriots, and Kurds demonstrated outside the EU offices in Athens to protest the customs union, chanting "Turkey's hands are washed in blood." -- Stefan Krause

    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz

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