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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 53, 14 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] VIOLENCE AGAINST SERBS IN ILIDZA.

  • [2] FRANCE, SERBIA OPPOSED TO LIFTING ARMS EMBARGO.

  • [3] SARAJEVO MAYOR RESIGNS OVER CANTON ISSUE.

  • [4] OIC PLEDGES TO HELP BOSNIA.

  • [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ON CROATIAN, RUMP YUGOSLAV RELATIONS.

  • [6] MONTENEGRINS WARY OF SERBIAN "LINGUISTIC OCCUPATION."

  • [7] ROMANIAN BANKING SCANDAL.

  • [8] HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY IN ROMANIA TO APPEAL TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE.

  • [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT, OFFICIALS DISCUSS CORRUPTION.

  • [10] BULGARIA, SLOVENIA AGREE TO BOOST COOPERATION.

  • [11] GREECE, BULGARIA DISAGREE OVER OIL PIPELINE PROJECT.

  • [12] ONE ALBANIAN DROWNS, 30 MISSING AFTER BOAT CAPSIZES.

  • [13] UPDATE ON ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS' TRIALS.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 53, Part II, 14 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] VIOLENCE AGAINST SERBS IN ILIDZA.

    Muslim gangs from Sarajevo continue to terrorize the Serbs who resisted arson and intimidation from their own side to stay in their homes in Ilidza, the BBC reported on 13 March. There has been some increase in police protection, but over 100 cases of actions against Serbs have been reported. Muslims have been telling Serbs they intend to move into their homes, and many Serbs have fled or are wondering what to do next, Reuters noted. The key issue for IFOR is to prevent a repeat in Grbavica of the events of recent days in Ilidza. Crack French and Italian patrols have accordingly been stepped up in Grbavica, the next suburb slated to pass to federal control. Reports are nonetheless already coming in of Serbian "intimidation squads" on the move, AFP stated. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] FRANCE, SERBIA OPPOSED TO LIFTING ARMS EMBARGO.

    The ban on light arms sales to the former Yugoslav republics was lifted on 14 March in keeping with the Dayton agreement. The aim of the American architects of the treaty was to allow the Muslims and Croats to achieve some kind of parity with the heavily armed Serbs and thereby deter the latter from new aggression. U.S. officials said they plan to go ahead with a military assistance plan costing some $700-800 million, AFP reported. Rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic said, however, that "it would be unreasonable while the peace process is in progress to undertake to arm any party." Serbia's traditional ally, France, has taken a similar view; and Foreign Ministry spokesman Yves Dutriaux told reporters that "France has two priorities in the region, stability and reconstruction. Rearmament is not a priority." This view will be represented by the EU at the 15 March conference in Ankara on arming the federation. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] SARAJEVO MAYOR RESIGNS OVER CANTON ISSUE.

    Tarik Kupusovic has resigned over the Sarajevo authorities' decision to make the city a canton, Oslobodjenje and Onasa reported. The Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) says it considers Sarajevo's cantonal arrangement unconstitutional, but Omer Ibrahimagic, president of the city commission in charge of transforming Sarajevo into a canton, has said it is in accordance with the federal constitution. Ibrahimagic noted that under the new arrangement, the mandates of the old city assembly deputies and officials, including that of the mayor, cease to exist. Meanwhile, the HDZ has appealed to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman for support in protecting Bosnian Croat political and national interests. It has also urged Croatian officials in the Bosnian Federation to halt their involvement in implementing the civilian part of the Dayton peace accord. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [4] OIC PLEDGES TO HELP BOSNIA.

    An Islamic aid mobilization group on 12 March pledged to help Bosnia in its reconstruction and in pursuing trials of war criminals, Onasa reported, citing Reuters. The pledge came after a two-day meeting of the 51-nation Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The OIC said the Islamic contribution would be within the framework of the Dayton peace accord, and it asked OIC member states to actively contribute to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bosnia. In another development, Russia has said it disapproves of the U.S. decision to grant military aid to the Bosnian Federation. It noted that it will not take part in the 15 March Ankara Conference on military aid for the Bosnian Federation, which is sponsored by the U.S. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ON CROATIAN, RUMP YUGOSLAV RELATIONS.

    Leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Vojislav Kostunica on 13 March said that relations between Croatia and rump Yugoslavia "certainly must be normalized." He stressed, however, that any improvement in bilateral relations would entail addressing "the question of the remaining Serbs in Croatia as well as those Serbs who left Croatia," Beta reported. Kostunica also commented that Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic had no intention to discuss the topic with Croatian officials. Kostunica alleged that the interests of the Serbs outside the rump Yugoslavia were being harmed by Western powers, notably the U.S. -- Stan Markotich

    [6] MONTENEGRINS WARY OF SERBIAN "LINGUISTIC OCCUPATION."

    The MontenegrinPEN club's committee for the use of language and history of literature on 11 March protested what it dubbed the "Serbianization" of the Montenegrin language. According to the Club, the preference given to the Ekavian variant of the language--which is spoken in Serbia--over the local Montenegrin Ijekavian is clear evidence of creeping "Serbianization." Montena-fax quoted club members as saying that since "1989, there has been a grave process of linguistic Serbianization in Montenegro--clearly under way in [many walks of] life, in the military, police, political, cultural, and economic occupation of Montenegro." -- Stan Markotich

    [7] ROMANIAN BANKING SCANDAL.

    The Romanian National Bank has dismissed 10 executives from a leading commercial bank, the Cluj-based Dacia-Felix, and assumed direct supervision over it. Romanian TV on 13 March said bank president Ioan Sima, its vice presidents, and the entire administrative council were dismissed and banned from holding leading positions in the banking system for the next five years. Dacia-Felix was accused of "grave" irregularities, especially in credit operations and hard-currency transactions. National Bank Governor,Mugur Isarescu told Adevarul on 14 March that the losses of the bank currently amount to 800 billion lei ($300 million). -- Michael Shafir

    [8] HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY IN ROMANIA TO APPEAL TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE.

    Iuliu Vida, leader of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) caucus in the Chamber of Deputies, said the draft law on local administration adopted by the chamber on 12 March will have a negative impact on the right of minorities to safeguard their national identity. Vida told a press conference that the UDMR will appeal the bill before the Council of Europe. The legislation stipulates that the Romanian language must be used at local council meetings even in regions where the majority is not Romanian. He said there were no other legal venues to appeal the bill, since it cannot be taken to the Constitutional Court, Radio Bucharest reported on 13 March. -- Michael Shafir

    [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT, OFFICIALS DISCUSS CORRUPTION.

    Mircea Snegur on 13 March discussed with senior Interior Ministry officials ways to combat corruption, BASA-press and Moldpres reported. Snegur said that corruption had spread to most branches of the administration. He added that his "declaration of war" on corruption has resulted in a "political offensive" against him. Meanwhile, the government's Commission for Foreign Trade Regulation rejected accusations made by Snegur during a recent parliamentary debate on corruption. The president had claimed that the commission authorized the export of "huge quantities" of sun- flower seeds and non-ferrous metals under dubious circumstances. -- Steliana Hanganu

    [10] BULGARIA, SLOVENIA AGREE TO BOOST COOPERATION.

    Slovenian President Milan Kucan and his Bulgarian counterpart, Zhelyu Zhelev, meeting in Sofia on 13 March, agreed to improve cooperation between their countries, Bulgarian and Western media reported. They also agreed to sign accords on protection of investments and on avoiding double taxation. Kucan said that while Slovenia supports Bulgaria's initiative for a meeting of Balkan foreign ministers, it will attend only as an observer because "Slovenia looks at the Balkans through the eyes of a Central European country." Kucan also met with Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Parliamentary President Blagovest Sendov. In other news, Videnov on 14 March began a two-day official visit to Russia, Duma reported. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] GREECE, BULGARIA DISAGREE OVER OIL PIPELINE PROJECT.

    Greece and Bulgaria disagree over which companies should take part in a $700 million oil pipeline project, Reuters reported on 13 March. The pipeline will have a capacity of 600,000 barrels a day and will transport Russian crude oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the Greek harbor town of Alexandroupolis. It will be built and operated by a Russian-Bulgarian- Greek company. Sofia wants fewer Greek construction firms involved, while Athens reportedly has promised a big share of the spoils to private Greek firms. Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Construction Minister Doncho Konakchiev said feasibility studies and economic reports must be completed before deciding which companies take part. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] ONE ALBANIAN DROWNS, 30 MISSING AFTER BOAT CAPSIZES.

    One Albanian drowned and another 30 are missing after a boat capsized near Otranto, Zeri i Popullit reported on 14 March. The group came from Maqella in the Dibra region and wanted to illegally immigrate to Italy. The accident is the latest in a series of maritime accidents. Small motor boats crossing the Adriatic are mostly overfilled, and fires often occur, since the boats carry additional fuel in canisters. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] UPDATE ON ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS' TRIALS.

    Populli Po chief editor Arben Hasani was fined $1,000 on 12 March for publishing an article saying that the Kosovars brought drugs and prostitution to Albania, Koha Jone reported. The cultural organization Kosova brought the charges against Hasani. On 18 March, he is to stand trial again--this time on charges of reporting incorrect information. The Albanian secret service SHIK claims that Hasani wrongly reported that a policeman in Shkoder had accused SHIK of involvement in the killing of a local opposition politician. Meanwhile, Koha Jone chief editor Aleksander Frangaj went on trial on 13 March for publishing an article about alleged corruption among police officers in Gjirokastra. -- 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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