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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 46, 5 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] FRENCH OFFICIALS FREE KARADZIC'S VICE PRESIDENT.

  • [2] BILDT, REHN: TRIALS FOR WAR CRIMINALS ESSENTIAL TO PEACE.

  • [3] TUDJMAN APPOINTS NEW ZAGREB LEADER.

  • [4] WILL SESELJ DIVIDE THE SERBIAN OPPOSITION?

  • [5] SLOVENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN EGYPT.

  • [6] METRO STRIKE CAUSES TRAFFIC CHAOS IN BUCHAREST.

  • [7] SIX ROMANIANS DIE IN JERUSALEM BOMB ATTACK.

  • [8] BULGARIAN INTEREST RATE GOES UP.

  • [9] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

  • [10] GREEK "SPY STORY" UPDATE.

  • [11] TWO ALBANIAN PAPERS CLOSE DOWN.

  • [12] FOUR ALBANIANS ARRESTED FOR FOUNDING COMMUNIST PARTY.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 46, Part II, 5 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] FRENCH OFFICIALS FREE KARADZIC'S VICE PRESIDENT.

    French police briefly arrested Bosnian Serb Vice President Nikola Koljevic In Paris on 2 March on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued in Sarajevo in 1992 for genocide, AFP noted on 4 March. He was freed after French government officials intervened and he went on with an advisor to Radovan Karadzic to visit the Serbian community in France. In The Hague, indicted war criminal General Djordje Djukic of the Serbian army said he "does not feel himself guilty" as charged, Nasa Borba wrote on 5 March. And in Croatia, the Helsinki Committee reported on atrocities committed against mainly elderly Serbs by uniformed Croats in Krajina since the area fell last summer, Novi list reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] BILDT, REHN: TRIALS FOR WAR CRIMINALS ESSENTIAL TO PEACE.

    Carl Bildt, the high representative for civilian affairs in Bosnia, told an international conference in Vienna on 4 March that the prosecution of alleged war criminals before the Hague-based international tribunal is a crucial element in the Bosnia peace process, AFP and Nasa Borba reported. The UN reporter on human rights in former Yugoslavia, Elisabeth Rehn, said recognition of rump Yugoslavia must depend on the human rights situation there. She appealed to the international community to make the lifting of sanctions and provision of reconstruction assistance to Yugoslavia contingent on that. Bildt announced that the chamber of human rights, an independent court of justice, would be constituted in the middle of March. The conference, held to discuss the human rights provisions of the Dayton accords, was sponsored by the Austrian Foreign Ministry and attended by 150 delegates from 30 countries. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [3] TUDJMAN APPOINTS NEW ZAGREB LEADER.

    Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on 2 March named Marina Matulovic-Dropulic as a commissioner to fulfill the duties of mayor of Zagreb, Croatian media reported the following day. Tudjman earlier refused to confirm two candidates for mayor nominated by the opposition majority on the city council, and instead decided to appoint a commissioner while calling for new elections. Zagreb City Assembly President Zdravko Tomac said the council would not confirm Matulovic- Dropulic's appointment. The opposition alliance will nominate another candidate for the post of mayor, Hina reported. "We will not give in, because it is Zagreb that will decide whether democracy is to stay or vanish," Vjesnik quoted Tomac as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [4] WILL SESELJ DIVIDE THE SERBIAN OPPOSITION?

    Nasa Borba on 5 March runs aseries of articles which attempt to evaluate the impact of the controversial Serbian Radical party (SRS) and its leader, accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj, on opposition party relations. A recurring theme appears to be a suspicion in opposition ranks that any serious cooperation aimed at forging unity aimed to dislodge the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia likely shall not or cannot include the SRS. In one piece, titled "What Opposition Colleagues Say About the Radicals," Aleksandar Cotric of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) argues: "The question is just whether or not Seselj is really even a member of the opposition, because everybody remembers a time when there was tight cooperation [between the SRS] and the socialists...when he [Seselj] even told his voters to cast their ballot for Milosevic for president." -- Stan Markotich

    [5] SLOVENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN EGYPT.

    Zoran Thaler met in Cairo with Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal Ahmad al-Janzuri and Foreign Minister Amr Musa on 3 March, STA reported that same day. At the top of the agenda were continuing and developing bilateral economic ties, but the possibility for Slovenian-Egyptian cooperation on issues relating to Bosnia-Herzegovina was also discussed. "Slovenia and Egypt have a similar point of view on resolving the Bosnia crisis...and [our] two countries will cooperate in reconstruction projects for Bosnia and Herzegovina," said Thaler. -- Stan Markotich

    [6] METRO STRIKE CAUSES TRAFFIC CHAOS IN BUCHAREST.

    Metro workers in Bucharest on 4 March went on an indefinite strike to press demands for a 30% pay rise and better terms, Radio Bucharest reported. The strikes will be held daily from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get around legal requirements that metro workers must not strike for more than two-thirds of the 19-hour-a-day timetable. The strike has affected some 700,000 commuters in Romania's capital who use the underground rail network regularly. On 4 March, thousands of commuters lined up at bus and tram stops despite low temperatures of some -10 Celsius. Romania's Transport Ministry declared the strike "illegal" and "unwarranted," pointing at the fact that the metro system receives state subsidies. Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu also spoke of an "illegal" strike and urged the workers to resume their activity. -- Dan Ionescu

    [7] SIX ROMANIANS DIE IN JERUSALEM BOMB ATTACK.

    Five Romanian guest workers and a tourist were among the victims of last weekend's suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem, Romanian and international media reported on 3-5 March. President Ion Iliescu condemned the attack, and expressed hopes that such fanatical acts would not derail the peace process. The Romanian Foreign Ministry released the names of the six victims and said the bodies will be repatriated on 6 March. -- Matyas Szabo

    [8] BULGARIAN INTEREST RATE GOES UP.

    The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) on 4 March raised the prime interest rate by 7%, Pari reported. The new rate of 49% becomes effective on 6 March. BNB Governor Lyubomir Filipov said "chaos on the currency market" necessitated the move but he hopes the rate will fall under 25% by the end of 1996. The raise came just one month after the BNB raised the prime interest rate from 34% to 42% on 1 February. In 1995, the rate was lowered seven times. Trud cited Filipov as saying that without help Bulgaria can not meet its obligations to repay foreign debts in 1996 because it would have to use its foreign currency reserves which would further devalue the lev. 24 chasa said the BNB's foreign currency reserves fell from $1.4 billion on November 1995 to $930 million. -- Stefan Krause

    [9] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev and Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev are likely to be replaced soon, 24 chasa reported on 5 March. A report by the Bulgarian Socialist Party's (BSP) sociopolitical commission said they must leave the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov immediately. BSP Deputy chairman Georgi Parvanov called for immediate personnel changes, an intensified fight against crime, and a smoother implementation of economic reforms. In other news, Standart reported that official documents were falsified in order to allow for increased grain exports. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) claims that more than one million tons of grain were exported instead of the 500,000 tons the government had approved, thus causing a severe grain shortage. -- Stefan Krause

    [10] GREEK "SPY STORY" UPDATE.

    Greece on 4 March demanded that Italy and the Netherlands replace their military attaches, Reuters reported. Rome and The Hague had recalled the attaches after Athens accused them of spying (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 March 1996). A senior government official said Greece "will not accept the same people." Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo called the row "a little storm in a very big teacup" and said there was no question of the Netherlands spying on a NATO partner. But parliamentary deputies in The Hague said that if Greece does not withdraw its accusation it will be asked to recall a diplomat from the Netherlands. Italy said it will not send its military attache back until Athens ends the "blown-up episode." -- Stefan Krause

    [11] TWO ALBANIAN PAPERS CLOSE DOWN.

    The Koha Jone publishing house has announced it will close down two of its smaller publications to overcome a financial crisis following a police crackdown on its delivery system, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 3 March. Editors-in-Chief Nikolle Lesi and Aleksander Frangaj argued that Koha Jone is forced to close down AKS and Sport Ekspres as police are continuing to impound nine of the daily's delivery vans, some for over a month. Koha Jone has also been charged with tax evasion for wrongly registering as a magazine rather than a newspaper. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] FOUR ALBANIANS ARRESTED FOR FOUNDING COMMUNIST PARTY.

    A Tirana court ordered the continued detention of three people who tried to re-found a Communist Party and youth organization, Koha Jone reported on 5 March. A fourth man, aged 73, has been put under house arrest. All those arrested are over 50 years old and will be charged with founding anti- constitutional parties or organizations. -- 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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