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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 251, 29 December 1995

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] NATO PLEASED WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF BOSNIAN TREATY.

  • [2] TOP NATO OFFICIAL IN BELGRADE.

  • [3] WEATHER PROVES TO BE IFOR'S BIG ENEMY.

  • [4] BOSNIAN SERBS WAIT FOR SMITH'S DECISION.

  • [5] HUNGARIAN RESPONSE TO ROMANIAN RECONCILIATION INITIATIVE.

  • [6] MOLDOVA REJECTS TURNING RUSSIAN CONTINGENT INTO PEACEKEEPING FORCE.

  • [7] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS MEDIA CHIEF'S OUSTER . . .

  • [8] . . . AND PARDONS CONVICTED COMMUNIST OFFICIAL.

  • [9] MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET WITH SMALL DEFICIT.

  • [10] BULGARIAN ATHLETES OPEN BANK, BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO OPEN ROADS.

  • [11] BANS ON GRAIN, OILSEED EXPORTS EXTENDED THROUGH 1996.

  • [12] EU SUPPORTS ALBANIAN INFRASTRUCTURE.

  • [13] SEARCH FOR TURKISH PILOT OFF MITILINI.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 251, Part II, 29 December 1995

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] NATO PLEASED WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF BOSNIAN TREATY.

    The commander of NATO ground forces, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Walker, said that "it appears that all parties are demonstrating a spirit of cooperation in complying with the peace agreement . . . We are [however] in [the] early days, it is a honeymoon period." He added that the first 30 days would be decisive because all three sides must disarm their militias and civilians by 20 January. IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith echoed Walker's optimism, saying that he was "very happy at what has been achieved in the first week of the mission." The International Herald Tribune and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung carried the reports on 29 December. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] TOP NATO OFFICIAL IN BELGRADE.

    NATO commander for Europe, U.S. General George Joulwan, arrived in Belgrade on 28 December and met with several rump Yugoslav officials, including army chief of staff Momcilo Perisic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Following his two-hour talks with Milosevic, Joulwan said the meetings were "very productive" and conveyed "appreciation for the transit of IFOR, particularly American aircraft here in Belgrade, and allowing forces to transit through Serbia to Bosnia." Joulwan was accompanied on his visit by 54 U.S. soldiers, who shall become the first NATO troops to cross into Bosnia from the rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich

    [3] WEATHER PROVES TO BE IFOR'S BIG ENEMY.

    NATO troops have been having to deal with threats not from the locals but from the elements (See OMRI Daily Digest, 28 December 1995). International media reported on 29 December that U.S. efforts to build a 310-meter pontoon bridge over the Sava River for U.S. troops have been held up by the floods. The waters also hit their camp at Zupanja after destroying a protective barrier. Senior U.S. and Croatian army officers have agreed to work together on the construction of the bridge. Meanwhile, the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes said that American soldiers are preparing for a longer stay than planned at their bases in Hungary. -- Patrick Moore and Daria Sito Sucic

    [4] BOSNIAN SERBS WAIT FOR SMITH'S DECISION.

    In accordance with the Bosnian Serbs' request to IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith, asking for about a year's delay in the transfer of authority of the Serb-held parts of Sarajevo to the Bosnian government (See OMRI Daily Digest, 27 December 1995), Bosnian Serb Parliamentary Speaker Momcilo Krajisnik said at Pale that they will wait for the decision until 30 January. "If [the] response is negative, we'll still have enough time to displace people, property and state enterprises," Beta quoted Krajisnik as saying on 29 December. Krajisnik also claimed that an agreement on certain corrections of Dayton's territorial maps was reached with the "Muslim side" relating to swaps of some Muslim and Serb villages in eastern Bosnia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] HUNGARIAN RESPONSE TO ROMANIAN RECONCILIATION INITIATIVE.

    The Bucharest daily Evenimentul zilei reports on 29 December that the Romanian ambassador to Budapest, Ioan Donca, has received the Hungarian response to President Ion Iliescu's initiative for a "historic reconciliation" between the two countries. No details were provided. The daily also wrote that Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu sent a letter to his Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs, including Bucharest's response to the latest proposals made by Hungary on the basic treaty between the two countries. -- Michael Shafir

    [6] MOLDOVA REJECTS TURNING RUSSIAN CONTINGENT INTO PEACEKEEPING FORCE.

    The Moldovan delegation to the Joint Control Commission on 28 December issued a statement rejecting the proposal to turn the Russian contingent in Transdniester into a peacekeeping force. The proposal was made earlier this year by Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Sokolov, deputy commander of the Russian Land Force. According to Infotag, the statement says the proposal is unacceptable "due to a certain politicization of the contingent servicemen and their failure to remain unbiased in the conflict." -- Michael Shafir

    [7] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS MEDIA CHIEF'S OUSTER . . .

    Zhelyu Zhelev publicly demanded that Vecheslav Tunev, Director-General of Bulgarian National Radio, submit his resignation, international media reported on 28 December. Prompting the call was an incident on 18 December, when seven state radio employees were dismissed by Tunev after alleging that management was censoring their work and following assurances by Tunev himself that they would not be fired (See OMRI Daily Digest, 19 December 1995). Zhelev called the firings "an outrage" and added that the one responsible "should not go unpunished." The president made his remarks following meetings with members of Free Speech Forum, a journalists' organization devoted to tracking the conditions affecting the freedoms of the media. -- Stan Markotich

    [8] . . . AND PARDONS CONVICTED COMMUNIST OFFICIAL.

    Reuters on 28 December reported that Zhelev exercised his constitutional prerogative and pardoned Stoyan Ovcharov, a former Minister of Economy and Planning under communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. Ovcharov was in the second year of a nine-year sentence for embezzling funds that went to finance the education of Zhivkov's grandson. Zhelev cited Ovcharov's ill health, and said that humanitarian considerations led to the pardon. Former Prime Minister Georgi Atanasov (Ovcharov's co-defendant) was pardoned in 1994 after serving less than one year of his ten-year sentence. -- Stan Markotich

    [9] MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET WITH SMALL DEFICIT.

    The Macedonian parliament on 27 December approved the 1996 budget, which will be in deficit by about 3 billion denars ($79 million), about 4.5% of the GDP, Nova Makendonija reported the next day. The shortfall will be covered entirely by credits from international financial institutions. The budget is based upon a macroeconomic framework assuming 6% inflation, an exchange rate of 27 denar/DM, 2% growth of social product, a freeze of salaries in the budget sphere at the level of August 1995, the abolition of vacation pay, a reduction in the number of social welfare recipients, and continued reform of the banking system and customs service. In parliamentary discussions, cuts in agricultural subsidies and social welfare spending sparked the most controversy. -- Michael Wyzan

    [10] BULGARIAN ATHLETES OPEN BANK, BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO OPEN ROADS.

    A group of prominent athletes, including soccer great Hristo Stoichkov, established a commercial banking enterprise on 26 December, dubbed National, 24 Chasa reported the following day. Among the first acts undertaken by management was to offer 101 free shares, each valued at roughly $1.5, to former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, in what is widely regarded in the Bulgarian media as a publicity stunt. It is unclear whether Zhivkov, under house arrest, has claimed the shares. In a separate development, Reuters on the same day reported that the Bulgarian government plans a massive upgrading of the country's infrastructure over the next three years. Transport Minister Stamen Stamenov was quoted as saying that they will be able to rehabilitate some 2,000 kms of roads between Bulgaria and the Middle East by 1998, which he said would help the country get in line with EU standards. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] BANS ON GRAIN, OILSEED EXPORTS EXTENDED THROUGH 1996.

    The Bulgarian cabinet on 28 December extended for another year the ban on the export of bread and feed grain and oil-bearing seeds and their derivatives, Demokratsiya reported the next day. The move had been controversial, even within the cabinet, with Trade Minister Kiril Tsochev (also a Deputy Prime Minister) against it because it would harm the country's chances of joining the World Trade Organization, as well as the interests of producers. The move comes on the heels of this year's "grain crisis": this year's harvest is the lowest in the last 15 years, except for 1985, and bread and grain have been scarce this fall. The cabinet also proposed that the export of meat, coal, and liquid fuels be subject to registration and that licenses be required for the export of gold and silver. -- Michael Wyzan

    [12] EU SUPPORTS ALBANIAN INFRASTRUCTURE.

    The EU and the Albanian government have signed an agreement providing about 25 million ECU ($32.5 million) in aid for infrastructure development on 22 December, international agencies reported. The aid includes a program of 16 million ECU ($20.8 million) for ports and roads and an additional 9 million ECU for roads along the Adriatic Sea. Since 1991, the EU has provided $671.6 million in aid to Albania, making it the country's leading donor. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] SEARCH FOR TURKISH PILOT OFF MITILINI.

    Greek and Turkish military aircraft are searching for the pilot of a Turkish F-4 jet fighter which crashed near the Greek island of Mitilini, Western media reported on 28 December. The plane, one of two which Athens claims violated Greek airspace, crashed due to mechanical failure after being intercepted by Greek warplanes. Greek and Turkish warplanes regularly engage in mock dogfights in the Aegean where the two countries dispute the extent of their respective territorial waters. In February a Turkish F-16 was lost in a similar incident. -- Lowell Bezanis

    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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