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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 250, 28 December 1995

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] SARAJEVO DISENGAGEMENT COMPLETED.

  • [2] MLADIC ABUSED FRENCH PILOTS.

  • [3] INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS PROTESTS LACK OF ACCESS TO PRISONERS.

  • [4] CROATIAN HIGH COURT RULES FOR GOVERNMENT, AGAINST COUNCILMEN.

  • [5] UPDATE ON IFOR ARRIVAL IN BOSNIA.

  • [6] NASTY WEATHER HITS WESTERN BALKANS . . .

  • [7] . . . AND ROMANIA.

  • [8] POLL SHOWS ILIESCU WINNING IN 1996.

  • [9] TRANSDNIESTRIAN ELECTIONS AND REACTIONS.

  • [10] MOLDOVA, UKRAINE SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENTS.

  • [11] UDF BOYCOTTS BULGARIAN ASSEMBLY AS BNB SUCCESSION DISCUSSED.

  • [12] PROSECUTOR DEMANDS TWO YEARS PRISON IN ALBANIAN PRINTING MACHINE SCANDAL.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 250, Part II, 28 December 1995

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] SARAJEVO DISENGAGEMENT COMPLETED.

    IFOR authorities on 27 December said that Bosnian Serb and government forces ended their withdrawal from 40 key frontline positions, two hours ahead of schedule. The VOA's Serbian Service called it "the first big test" for NATO in its efforts to supervise the disengagement of forces in line with the Dayton agreement. The BBC noted that both sides cooperated in the first stage of setting up a "zone of separation" despite the difficulties in executing such a pullback in a city. The next deadline is 19 January, when a two- kilometer zone is to be set up and demined. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] MLADIC ABUSED FRENCH PILOTS.

    The French Defense Ministry on 27 December admitted that Bosnian Serb forces had mistreated the two French airmen captured at the end of August and released on 12 December, news agencies reported. The ministry thus went back on previous official statements that the men had been well treated, but it denied charges in Le Canard Enchaine that the authorities had forced the pilots to lie about what had happened. They were kicked, beaten, isolated in ice-cold bunkers, and put through mock executions. Indicted war criminal General Ratko Mladic, the pilots said, "was the boss from beginning to end. He decided what our fate would be," threatening to torture and kill them. The Serbs kicked the men's injured legs and threw them only occasional food. The revelations again fueled speculation that the French made a deal to free them, involving plea-bargaining for Mladic at the Hague war crimes tribunal or better terms for the Sarajevo Serbian suburbs. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS PROTESTS LACK OF ACCESS TO PRISONERS.

    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials warned on 27 December that all sides were violating provisions of the peace accord related to the exchange of prisoners of war, Hina reported the same day. During the recent release of 245 prisoners (See OMRI Daily Digest, 27 December 1995), both the Bosnian Serb and government forces denied the ICRC access to prisoners as set down in the Dayton agreement. The VOA's Serbian Service reported that the ICRC stated that prisoners have been released without a prior interview with Red Cross officials and that such releases amount to an expulsion. The ICRC lists 700 to 800 prisoners, but this number is not final because its officials have not had unimpeded access to all prisons and detention camps. -- Patrick Moore and Daria Sito Sucic

    [4] CROATIAN HIGH COURT RULES FOR GOVERNMENT, AGAINST COUNCILMEN.

    The Constitutional Court on 27 December rejected the appeal by 45 newly- elected councilmen from opposition parties against the government's decision to annul their work in the Zagreb City and County Councils (See OMRI Daily Digest, 18 December 1995), Hina reported the same day. The Court upheld the government's case and ruled that a new constituent session should be held on 2 January. Should that fail, the government will appoint its own administrator for Zagreb and new elections will be called. Meanwhile, negotiations between the government and opposition are underway about a compromise solution, but the opposition has made clear that it will insist on holding the mayor's job, Novi list wrote on 28 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] UPDATE ON IFOR ARRIVAL IN BOSNIA.

    AFP reported on 28 December that 35,000 IFOR soldiers were deployed on the territory of former Yugoslavia, with 28,000 in Bosnia and the rest in Croatia. In spite of bad weather and the difficulties inherent in coordinating 60,000 soldiers from 32 countries, more than 50% of IFOR's scheduled personnel are in the area only a week after NATO started its biggest military operation, a NATO spokesman said on 27 December. Most of the soldiers there are British and French who had already served with UNPROFOR. Out of 20,000 Americans, only 1,400 have arrived, Nasa Borba reported on 28 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [6] NASTY WEATHER HITS WESTERN BALKANS . . .

    Heavy rains held up U.S. troops in building two pontoon bridges over the Sava River, while floods following a dam burst wiped out a French Foreign Legion base near Mostar. The men were evacuated by helicopter, news agencies reported. But an Italian policeman was killed in a road accident and military vehicles were washed away. The French have evacuated 600 Muslims from Mostar amid fears that another dam may burst. The Muslim authorities wanted to burst the dam as a preventive measure but local Croat officials refused. Meanwhile, widespread flooding cut off villages and forced about 2,000 people to evacuate their homes in northern Albania, Reuters reported on 27 December. At least 5,000 hectares of land were submerged and hundreds of houses have been destroyed. High water is also threatening two hydropower stations on the Drin River. -- Patrick Moore and Fabian Schmidt

    [7] . . . AND ROMANIA.

    Several people were killed and hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes by heavy floods that hit Romania this week, Radio Bucharest reported on 26-27 December. Particularly affected are the eastern, the northern, and northwestern parts of the country. Rompres reported that the floods cut off telephone lines, water and power supplies, and disrupted traffic in several counties. A government press release said 1,369 dwellings had been flooded, six bridges were destroyed, and numerous roads closed. -- Michael Shafir

    [8] POLL SHOWS ILIESCU WINNING IN 1996.

    A poll conducted by the Romanian Institute for Public Opinion Surveying shows 67% of Romanians are of the opinion that incumbent President Ion Iliescu will win the presidential election scheduled for autumn 1996. Romanian television reported on 26 December that 57% believe Iliescu's party, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, will win the parliamentary elections to be held at the same time. The report did not specify what proportion of respondents mentioned the Democratic Convention of Romania or its candidate, Emil Constantinescu, as likely to win the parliamentary and the presidential elections, respectively. -- Michael Shafir

    [9] TRANSDNIESTRIAN ELECTIONS AND REACTIONS.

    According to data from Infotag on 27 December, the results of the referendum that was held concomitantly with parliamentary elections in the breakaway region of Transdniester are slightly different from those reported the previous day. The constitution was approved by 82.7% of the voters and 89.7% were in favor of joining the CIS. Voter participation was 62.4%. Moldovan President Mircea Snegur said the sole objectives of the vote were to strengthen Tiraspol's position concerning independence and undermine negotiations with Chisinau. He also attacked parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi for publicly backing forces in the Transdniester that favor the region's re-integration with Moldova instead of denouncing the unconstitutionality of the exercise. Presidential adviser Victor Josu told journalists in Chisinau that the presence, allegedly as observers, of Russian Duma deputies in the Transdniester had been a "gross violation of international law" and an "interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova." On the other hand, Oleg Mirnov, who headed the Duma delegation, spoke in the Tiraspol parliament, praising the elections and stating that the referendum has shown the population's "enthusiasm and wish for integration, first and foremost with Russia." -- Michael Shafir

    [10] MOLDOVA, UKRAINE SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENTS.

    Visiting Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov and his Moldovan counterpart Pavel Creanga signed in Chisinau on 27 December a number of agreements on cooperation between their ministries. The first such agreements had been signed in 1993 and since then ties had been successfully developing. Shmarov said the proximity of the Transdniester region to his country's borders makes Ukraine particularly interested in a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Though Ukraine could "theoretically" deploy peacekeeping units, it would prefer the conflict to be settled by "political means, without military interference." Smarov said that considering "the recent history of the former Russian 14th Army," the "current Russian contingent in Transdniester cannot receive the status of a peacekeeping force." Such a force could be provided by "other military units, maybe even an international force that included CIS participation." Creanga said granting peacekeeping status to the Russian contingent would lead to a violation of the 1992 agreement between Moscow and Chisinau. -- Michael Shafir

    [11] UDF BOYCOTTS BULGARIAN ASSEMBLY AS BNB SUCCESSION DISCUSSED.

    Trud on 27 December reported that the Governor of the Bulgarian National Bank, Todor Valchev, has submitted his resignation for the third time. Deputies from the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) on 22 December boycotted an extraordinary parliamentary session at which the ruling socialists intended to approve his successor, Demokratsiya reported on 23 December. The UDF motivated its action, which deprived the parliament of a quorum, by noting that before voting on a successor, parliament must pass amendments to the law on the BNB and ratify Valchev's resignation. The BSP proposes replacing Valchev, whose term is up in January, with Atanas Paparizov, a deputy minister in the last communist regime, party member, and internationally respected economist (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 December 1995). In other news, Bulgarian media on 22 December reported that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias signed agreements opening three new border checkpoints between the two countries and on mutual rights over the Mesta river. -- Michael Wyzan and Stan Markotich

    [12] PROSECUTOR DEMANDS TWO YEARS PRISON IN ALBANIAN PRINTING MACHINE SCANDAL.

    Tirana prosecutor Shkelqin Danaj demanded a two-year prison sentence for former Zeri I Popullit editor in chief Perparim Xhixha, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 27 December. Xhixha is accused of misappropriating $400,000 that were given to the daily in 1991 to buy a printing machine in Canada, which never materialized. Xhixha's lawyers argued that there is not enough evidence against him. -- Fabian Schmidt

    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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