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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 229, 27 November 1995

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN "A NEW BEIRUT."

  • [2] WHAT NOW FOR BOSNIAN SERBS?

  • [3] IS SERBIA STILL MANUFACTURING POISON GAS?

  • [4] CROATIAN TROOPS TORCHING MRKONJIC GRAD.

  • [5] PREVLAKA PENINSULA AT CENTER OF CROATIAN CONTROVERSY.

  • [6] PERRY IN MACEDONIA.

  • [7] SLOVENIA TO BECOME MEMBER OF FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION.

  • [8] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL RESTITUTION LAW.

  • [9] ROMANIAN SENATE ASKED TO LIFT EXTREMIST SENATOR'S IMMUNITY.

  • [10] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ON RUSSIAN DUMA RESOLUTION.

  • [11] BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF CENSORSHIP.

  • [12] FURTHER CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ALIA.

  • [13] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN TURKEY.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 229, Part II, 27 November 1995

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] BOSNIAN SERBS THREATEN "A NEW BEIRUT."

    Bosnian Serbs, while acceptingthe Dayton peace plan, have recently staged protests against establishing a unified city administration for Sarajevo. Karadzic met with Bosnian Serb leaders on 26 November, and international media reported that the Serbs insisted that parts of the Dayton agreement dealing with Sarajevo and with the international peace force be renegotiated. German media quoted him as saying his troops will stay in place until this happens. Karadzic told BBC TV that without his approval the treaty is "worth nothing," and he threatened that Sarajevo could become "a new Beirut in Europe." BBC Radio commented that he was "trying to scare the U.S. Congress" into blocking plans to send 20,000 troops to Bosnia and thereby trying to upset the entire peace agreement. Mlada fronta Dnes wrote on 27 November that the Bosnian Serbs are determined not to yield on Sarajevo and will "defend every house" rather than give up some districts currently under their control. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] WHAT NOW FOR BOSNIAN SERBS?

    Top U.S. officials made it clear on 26November that the Dayton agreement will not be renegotiated and that Karadzic, as an indicted war criminal, could face arrest if he tries to attend the signing in Paris. Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told AFP: "If there is any kind of [armed] action [on the ground in Bosnia] by rogue elements, they are going to get whacked." Speculation has been rife that Milosevic might deal with the problem of war criminals by forcing Karadzic into retirement and offering General Ratko Mladic a top post in the rump Yugoslav army, where he would still be in a position to influence Bosnian affairs. Milosevic might then offer formal leadership of the Bosnian Serbs to someone from Banja Luka or to Nikola Koljevic. The latter is a professor who is often portrayed as a moderate, but whom former U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmermann described in Foreign Affairs as "directing artillery fire on the civilian population of Sarajevo." -- Patrick Moore

    [3] IS SERBIA STILL MANUFACTURING POISON GAS?

    The BBC, citing ITV's program"World in Action," reported on 26 November that Serbia is continuing to produce sarin, a poison nerve gas, raising questions about its possible future use and why Belgrade apparently did not make it available to the Bosnian Serbs. In other news, ultranationalist leaders in Serbia continue to criticize Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for his role at the Dayton peace talks. Nasa Borba on 24 November quoted Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party and accused war criminal, as dubbing the peace accord "the greatest sellout and the greatest defeat ever in history of our people." He added that Serbs were "disappointed" with the deal. -- Stan Markotich

    [4] CROATIAN TROOPS TORCHING MRKONJIC GRAD.

    The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 27 November reported that uniformed Croats are systematically looting and burning properties in Mrkonjic Grad and surrounding areas. Croatian forces took the region in the weeks before the peace conference but will return it to the Serbs rather than yield land to them along the northern supply corridor. The daily also wrote about the extensive devastation of Roman Catholic churches and other property in Croatia by the Krajina Serbs during the four years of their uprising. -- Patrick Moore

    [5] PREVLAKA PENINSULA AT CENTER OF CROATIAN CONTROVERSY.

    All local opposition parties from the Dubrovnik region on 26 November protested that the possible swap of the Prevlaka peninsula, which controls access to Montenegro's Bay of Kotor, for the Serb-controlled Dubrovnik hinterland, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Meanwhile, Vecernji list and Slobodna Dalmacija recently published interviews with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mate Granic saying that Croatia emerged from Dayton with its international borders intact, referring to Prevlaka and eastern Slavonia. He said that the Serbs and Montenegrins demanded certain "territorial swaps" but that no discussions can start before both Croatia and rump Yugoslavia officially recognize each other. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [6] PERRY IN MACEDONIA. U.S.

    Defense Secretary William Perry, during his visit to Macedonia on 23-24 November, said that 25 countries have so far offered to contribute troops to the 60,000-strong peacekeeping force for Bosnia, international agencies reported. He added that the mainly NATO force would be deployed very quickly after the signing of a peace agreement in Paris in early December and that there would be enough troops in Bosnia within weeks to carry out essential tasks. Perry also met with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, who appeared in public for the first time since the assassination attempt on 3 October. Perry was accompanied by the defense ministers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which have 1,100 peacekeeping troops deployed in Macedonia. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [7] SLOVENIA TO BECOME MEMBER OF FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION.

    Ljubljana on 25 November signed an agreement, to go into effect on 1 January, whereby Slovenia will become a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement. Slovenia joins the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in CEFTA. Reuters quoted Slovenian Minister of Economic Relations and Development Janko Dezelak as saying "we expect trade with CEFTA members will significantly increase as a result of the agreement." -- Stan Markotich

    [8] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL RESTITUTION LAW.

    Ion Iliescu on 24 November promulgated a controversial restitution law offering Romanians modest restitution for properties confiscated under the Communists in the late 1940s and 1950s, Romanian and Western media reported. Communist nationalization stripped hundreds of thousands of Romanians of most of their property, including homes and flats. The new law provides for compensation not exceeding 50 million lei (some $18,000). A communique released by the Presidential Office said the current administration cannot accept the blame for the actions of the former regime. It also said the authorities have to prevent "new injustice" against those currently living in nationalized flats. Romania has yet to resolve numerous arguments over the restitution of property that belonged to the Jewish community and the Greek Catholic Church. -- Dan Ionescu

    [9] ROMANIAN SENATE ASKED TO LIFT EXTREMIST SENATOR'S IMMUNITY.

    Justice Minister Gavril Iosif Chiuzbaian asked the Senate to strip Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the chauvinistic Greater Romania Party, of his parliamentary immunity, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported on 24 November. The minister's decision came one month after the prosecutor- general's request to start procedures for lifting Tudor's immunity. Tudor has been accused of offending President Ion Iliescu and defaming state institutions (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 October 1995). The final decision will be taken through a secret vote in the Senate, where two thirds of the senators have to vote for lifting his immunity. -- Matyas Szabo

    [10] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT ON RUSSIAN DUMA RESOLUTION.

    The Moldovan parliament on 24 November issued a declaration to the Russian State Duma demanding the recognition of the Dniester region's independence, BASA-press reported. According to the declaration, the Duma's resolution of 17 November "runs counter to the principles of interstate relations, Moldovan-Russian agreements, and CIS foundation acts." The document adds that the Moldovan legislation, its policy toward national minorities, and the commitments made to international organizations "do not give other states, including Russia," reasons to treat Moldova in a discriminatory manner. -- Matyas Szabo

    [11] BULGARIAN JOURNALISTS ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF CENSORSHIP.

    Thirty-four journalists working for state-run Bulgarian National Radio on 22 November issued a declaration accusing the socialist government of censoring state-run media, RFE/RL reported. The declaration accuses the government of suppressing "professionalism and freedom of speech," deciding which news items and studio guests will appear, rearranging newscasts, and virtually stripping journalists of the right to produce commentaries. Journalists can be fined 2,000 leva ($29), one third of their average salary, for not complying with government regulations. BNR Director-General Vecheslav Tunev refuted the charges, saying his policy aims at defending "national interests" and "the agenda of society." President Zhelyu Zhelev on 24 November received the 34 journalists to show solidarity with them. He called Bulgaria's postcommunist development "an imitation of freedom of speech, of democracy, of pluralism, and sometimes even of opposition." -- Stefan Krause

    [12] FURTHER CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ALIA.

    Former Albanian President Ramiz Alia has been accused of ordering police to shoot at demonstrators in Tirana on 20 February 1991, international agencies reported on 25 November. It is reported that documents are available proving Alia gave the order as demonstrators toppled the monument of his predecessor, Enver Hoxha. Hekuran Isai, Alia's interior minister at the time, said he refused to obey the order because "bloodshed [was] certain." In a speech held after the incident, Alia complained to army officers that "the police did not carry out its task" and spoke of "organized bloodshed, if necessary...to organize the army to fight the internal enemy." -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN TURKEY.

    Ion Iliescu, heading a large delegation that included business leaders as well as his foreign, trade and transport ministers, paid a one-day visit to Turkey on 23 November, Western media reported. Iliescu met with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel to discuss strengthening bilateral economic and political ties. Annual bilateral trade totals $700 million, and an estimated 4,000 Turkish companies are active in Romania. -- 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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