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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 44, 1 March 1996

From: OMRI-L <omri-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu>

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] IS GENERAL DJUKIC MISSING LINK TO MILOSEVIC?

  • [2] SIEGE OF SARAJEVO ENDS.

  • [3] MORE VIOLATIONS OF DAYTON ACCORDS ON PRISONERS, FORCED LABOR.

  • [4] WORLD BANK APPROVES $45 MILLION AID TO BOSNIA.

  • [5] BOMB EXPLODES IN MOSTAR.

  • [6] SOROS FOUNDATION VOWS TO CONTINUE WORK IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.

  • [7] WORLD CHESS CHAMPION ENLISTS WITH SERBIAN SOCIALISTS.

  • [8] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SENATOR TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES.

  • [9] MAJOR OIL LEAK IN ROMANIA.

  • [10] CONTROVERSY OVER PLUNDERED ROMANIAN JEWISH FORTUNES IN SWISS BANK.

  • [11] EU-MOLDOVA COOPERATION COMMITTEE CONVENES IN CHI-SINAU.

  • [12] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

  • [13] WAS ITALIAN MAFIA INVOLVED IN TIRANA BOMBING?

  • [14] JOURNALIST CONTINUES TO BE DETAINED IN TIRANA.

  • [15] GREECE WILL CONTINUE TO BLOCK EU AID TO TURKEY.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 44, Part II, 1 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] IS GENERAL DJUKIC MISSING LINK TO MILOSEVIC?

    The International CriminalTribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on 1 March announced that Serbian General Djordje Djukic has been formally charged with "crimes against humanity" and "violation of war rights and conventions," AFP reported. It will also hold another Serbian officer, Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic, until at least 4 April. The Guardian on 29 February published an article based on a package of leaked documents on Djukic and some secret Serbian maps. It argues that Djukic is an officer in Belgrade's army, not Pale's, and that the "international community" was aware all along of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's role in starting and continuing the war in Bosnia through the end of 1995. The author concludes that "the revelation that the general is Belgrade's man has explosive implications for the Dayton peace agreement, while cutting to the core of the history of the conflict by revealing Belgrade's secret role in the Bosnian Serb war machine." The authenticity of the documents has yet to be verified, but many observers have long suspected such a link. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] SIEGE OF SARAJEVO ENDS.

    With the arrival of federal police in Ilijas on 29 February, the blockade of the Bosnian capital formally came to an end. Oslobodjenje on 1 March reported that Interior Minister Avdo Hebib has reopened the overland route from Sarajevo to Zenica and Tuzla. The Serbian siege lasted nearly four years, despite repeated attempts by the government army to break through. UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko blamed the Pale leadership for ordering the looting of Ilijas before the federal units arrived. In another development, suspected war criminal and Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic has reemerged on the political scene by registering his Democratic People's Community in Mostar. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] MORE VIOLATIONS OF DAYTON ACCORDS ON PRISONERS, FORCED LABOR.

    The Onasa news agency on 29 February quoted a prominent Roman Catholic priest, Karlo Visevicki, as telling Bosnian Prime Minister Izudin Kapetanovic in Banja Luka that Serbs continue to make Muslims do forced labor in western Bosnia. AFP the same day reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross said that the government authorities are holding 52 more Serbian prisoners in Tuzla, bringing the total there to at least 129. Two others are being held in Zenica. These Serbs and all other prisoners not wanted for war crimes should have been freed six weeks ago. The Serbs are still officially holding 23 captives and the Croats two, in addition to those all three sides are keeping in connection with war crimes investigations. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] WORLD BANK APPROVES $45 MILLION AID TO BOSNIA.

    The World Bank has approved $45 million in emergency reconstruction aid for Bosnia in the form of loans and grants, AFP reported on 29 February, quoting an unidentified source. The aid is part of an emergency fund created by the World Bank totaling $150 million. The World Bank is expected to announce on 1 March which reconstruction projects will be financed by these funds, whose contributors include the EU, the U.S., Canada, Germany, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Britain. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] BOMB EXPLODES IN MOSTAR.

    A bomb destroyed a Muslim-owned bank in the Croatian part of Mostar on 29 February, Nasa Borba and AFP reported. No casualties were reported. The bank is owned by a Muslim family that lives in Zagreb. Bosnian Croat police have opened an investigation into the blast, which, they say, may be linked either to mafia operations or to ethnic strife. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [6] SOROS FOUNDATION VOWS TO CONTINUE WORK IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.

    The Soros Foundation has pledged to re-register in order to continue its aid work throughout rump Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 1 March. The foundation was banned last month by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's regime. The organization said that since it was banned, there has been a risk that 30,000 refugees will not receive critical food aid, pre-schoolers will be deprived of basic educational supplies, and some 100 health facilities will not get critical medical supplies. Foundation head Sonja Licht noted that the rump Yugoslavia is "the only country that has banned the Soros Foundation from operating on its territory." -- Stan Markotich

    [7] WORLD CHESS CHAMPION ENLISTS WITH SERBIAN SOCIALISTS.

    Russian chess master Anatolii Karpov has formally joined Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, AFP reported on 29 February. Karpov is said to be the first foreigner to join Milosevic's ruling SPS. -- Stan Markotich

    [8] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SENATOR TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES.

    Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu, senator for the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic, on 29 February said he will boycott parliamentary debates, Radio Bu-charest reported. Dumitrescu, a former political prisoner under the Communists, said he was protesting the indefinite postponement of the debate over a draft law he proposed two years ago. The bill would provide for information on the former political police to be released and would allow citizens access to their Securitate files. He also pointed to another draft law blocked by the parliament, saying the legislation aimed at banning former communist officials from holding high office within the administration. Dumitrescu argued that informers are still at work everywhere in Romania and that some have infiltrated the democratic opposition. -- Dan Ionescu

    [9] MAJOR OIL LEAK IN ROMANIA.

    An oil tanker has spilled up to 250 tons of gasoline in the harbor of Constanta on the Black Sea, Romanian and Western media reported on 29 February. The leak occurred when the Maltese-registered tank ship was unloading its cargo. A port official blamed the oil spill on "negligence by the crew," who have been ordered to pay a small fine only and the costs of the clean-up operation. Fuel imports have been increased in an attempt to halt an energy crisis caused by particularly cold weather. -- Dan Ionescu

    [10] CONTROVERSY OVER PLUNDERED ROMANIAN JEWISH FORTUNES IN SWISS BANK.

    The World Jewish Congress has said the Association of Swiss Bankers is hiding data on the fate of Romanian Jews' fortunes plundered during World War II and deposited in a Swiss bank account, Reuters and Cronica romana reported on 29 February-1 March. The WJC said details of an account belonging to Radu Lecca have been discovered in a Securitate file. Lecca, who was in charge of "Romanianizing" Jewish property, is widely suspected of having amassed a fortune by threatening Jews with deportation. He was sentenced to death in 1946 but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The file states that in 1963, Lecca-- possibly under pressure from the Securitate--attempted to reclaim money from the Swiss Volksbank but was told no record of the account existed because the bank's records had been destroyed. -- Michael Shafir

    [11] EU-MOLDOVA COOPERATION COMMITTEE CONVENES IN CHI-SINAU.

    The EU-Moldova Joint Cooperation Committee on 29 February met for the first time, Moldovan agencies reported. Moldovan Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli said the committee was set up to implement the first agreements signed by Moldova and the EU. He expressed gratitude to the EU for its support in the peaceful settlement of the Dniester conflict and in efforts to withdraw Russian troops from Moldovan territory. Without EU's humanitarian assistance and preferential credits, "Moldova may experience social unrest," he added. -- Matyas Szabo

    [12] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    The Bulgarian government on 29 February adopted regulations for implementing the arms trade law, Standart reported. The regulations give private and state-run companies equal status. Private firms, however, must be Bulgarian majority-owned. Industry Minister Kliment Vuchev said he is not so interested in re-exports but noted that "it is important arms are being sold, that our plants work." Also on 29 February, the cabinet decided to raise the price of gasoline, diesel fuel, and fuel oil. The government said the hikes were due to the devaluation of the lev against the dollar and the need to finance road maintenance and reconstruction. -- Stefan Krause

    [13] WAS ITALIAN MAFIA INVOLVED IN TIRANA BOMBING?

    Reuters on 29 Februaryquoted unofficial sources "with knowledge of the police investigation into the [bomb blast in Tirana on 26 February]" as saying the owner of the car that carried the bomb has been detained and has links with the Italian Mafia. He reportedly came from Italy's Puglia region. Vefa Holdings, the owner of the supermarket that was destroyed in the blast, is reportedly also involved in arms trading. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [14] JOURNALIST CONTINUES TO BE DETAINED IN TIRANA.

    Meanwhile, a Tirana court has ruled that Populli Po journalist Ylli Polovina is to remain in prison, Koha Jone reported on 1 March. Polovina wrote an article last November suggesting that bomb attacks like that on Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov in October could also happen in Albania. The prosecutor charged him with "publicly calling for violent acts." Polovina faces up to three years in prison if found guilty. The Albanian Helsinki Committee, Reporters without Borders, and the International Center against Censorship Article 19 have protested both Polovina's arrest and raids on Koha Jone's offices since the bombing. Koha Jone Chief Editor Nikolle Lesi has been charged with illegal arms possession, Gazeta Shqiptare reported. President Sali Berisha continues to blame the communist-era secret police for the explosion. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [15] GREECE WILL CONTINUE TO BLOCK EU AID TO TURKEY.

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis on 29 February said Greece will block EU aid to Turkey "as long as Turkish aggressiveness persists," Reuters reported. He said it "would be foolish for Greece to go along as if nothing were happening while Turkey threatens war." He also noted that Turkey is not following a provision of the customs union with the EU committing it to friendly relations with EU countries. Turkish caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller said the same day that Greece should not use EU membership as a weapon against Turkey. She called on Athens to solve differences by dialogue. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana arrived in Athens on 29 February to discuss the effects of the Greek-Turkish dispute on military cooperation in the region, AFP reported. -- 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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