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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 56, 19 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] IZETBEGOVIC CONDEMNS MUSLIM VIOLENCE.

  • [2] SERBIAN PRESIDENT ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.

  • [3] SLOVENIAN JOURNALISTS ON STRIKE.

  • [4] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA EASES BORDER TRAFFIC WITH ALBANIA AFTER 15 YEARS.

  • [5] BALKAN DIPLOMATIC UPDATE.

  • [6] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL WARNS OF FOREIGN TERRORISM.

  • [7] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES HIGHER WAGES.

  • [8] BULGARIA, GREECE SIGN MILITARY PLAN.

  • [9] SON-IN-LAW OF FORMER BULGARIAN DICTATOR ACQUITTED.

  • [10] ALBANIAN TOWN DECLARES IMPRISONED SOCIALIST LEADER HONORARY CITIZEN.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 56, Part II, 19 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] IZETBEGOVIC CONDEMNS MUSLIM VIOLENCE.

    Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic has written Interior Minister Avdo Hebib to criticize attacks by Muslims against Serbs and their property in Ilidza, Onasa reported on 18 March. He seemed intent on preventing such incidents in the future. The president said that "Serbs who have decided, despite the crazed Pale propaganda and threats, to stay in Sarajevo deserve our full protection, and they must get it. =8A With a feeling of bitterness, I listened in the past days to reports about the behavior of a group of [Muslim] residents. =8A We want an integral and democratic Bosnia. [Pale] wants a divided and ethnically cleansed Bosnia. Our goals diametrically differ from theirs, so the paths and methods are different as well. There will be no integral and democratic Bosnia without strict respect of laws and human rights for all." -- Patrick Moore

    [2] SERBIAN PRESIDENT ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.

    Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic said in Geneva on 18 March that elections in Bosnia- Herzegovina ought to be held as soon as possible. "The best way to stabilize the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is to overcome current problems, to apply the Dayton peace accord in a coherent fashion, and to speed up preparation of the elections," he said. "Only representatives and institutions elected in a regular fashion can guarantee a normal life in the Republika Srpska as well as the [Muslim-Croat] federation and in the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina." He seemingly referring to Bosnian Serb leaders not elected but appointed by an assembly in 1991. Both AFP and Tanjug reported Milosevic's remarks. -- Stan Markotich

    [3] SLOVENIAN JOURNALISTS ON STRIKE.

    Journalists employed at the state- funded Radio and Television Slovenija Corporation went on strike on 18 March, demanding higher salaries and improved working conditions for freelancers and causing a news blackout on RTV Slovenija. Roughly 10% of the company's 350 employees are freelancers. Full-time staff members have asked for a 15% pay increase, which would bring an average monthly gross salary to $1,200. Union officials have vowed to continue with their job action until their demands are met, according to Belgrade's Beta, while management representatives say they will keep the avenues of dialogue open. -- Stan Markotich

    [4] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA EASES BORDER TRAFFIC WITH ALBANIA AFTER 15 YEARS.

    The rump Yugoslav government on 14 March announced a plan to scrap exit visas for ethnic Albanians who want to travel to Albania, international agencies reported. The Albanian government welcomed the move as a "step in the right direction," adding that "the free communication of people =8A would contribute to understanding and a spirit of a dialogue in the region." Kosovar and Montenegrin Albanians have needed exit visas since 1981, when Albanian students rallied for the establishment of a Kosovar republic. ATSH reported on 18 March, however, that the ruling had not yet taken effect. In related news, on 15 March, police detained Kosovar human rights activist Adem Demaci for two hours and confiscated documentation on human rights abuses that he intended to present to the European Parliament. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [5] BALKAN DIPLOMATIC UPDATE.

    Italian Foreign Minister Susanna Agnelli visited Skopje and Tirana on 18 March. Talks with the respective presidents and foreign ministers focused on future association agreements of the Balkan countries with the European Union. Both Albania and Macedonia said EU association is a high priority. Macedonia urged that individual Balkan countries that meet the necessary association criteria not be forced to wait for their neighbors, Reuters and MILS reported. Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos called on Belgrade not to recognize Macedonia until the name issue is resolved between Athens and Skopje, MILS reported. The Macedonian agency also noted that Macedonian Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski has accepted Pangalos's invitation to visit Athens. Macedonian sources say the meeting will take place at the end of March or the beginning of April. -- Fabian Schmidt and Stefan Krause

    [6] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL WARNS OF FOREIGN TERRORISM.

    General Vasile Lupu, deputy chief of the Romanian Intelligence Service, said that Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups are planning to use Romania as a base for terrorist action, international agencies reported on 18 March, quoting a Romanian newspaper. According to Lupu, opponents of peace in the Middle East and other militant groups are particularly active among Iranian and Palestinian students at Romanian universities. Lupu also claimed to have proof that the Kurdistan Workers' Party was considering opening an Eastern European headquarters in Romania, which would allegedly open the way for the traffic of weapons, ammunition, and explosives through Romania. -- Matyas Szabo

    [7] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES HIGHER WAGES.

    The government on 18 March decided to raise the minimum salary for people employed in the state sector to 3,040 leva ($39) as of 1 April and to 3,340 leva as of 1 October, Duma reported. The minimum pension will be increased to 1,800 leva and 2,000 leva on the respective target dates. The cabinet also decided to fully compensate people paid directly out of the state budget if inflation rises above the projected 20%, provided it does not exceed 25%. Average wages of state employees are to rise by 10% in 1996 (by 30% in the education sector). The government announced its decision during a meeting of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation, which comprises representatives of the government, trade unions, and employers. The union representatives left the meeting demanding "new starting levels" for wages and compensation based on real rather than projected inflation rates. The employers also voiced displeasure with the government plan. -- Stefan Krause

    [8] BULGARIA, GREECE SIGN MILITARY PLAN.

    Officials of the defense ministries and general staffs of Bulgaria and Greece on 15 March signed a 70-point military-cooperation program for 1996, Bulgarian media reported. The annual programs are based on a 1992 agreement. The 1996 program calls for joint exercises on the territories of both countries as well as in their territorial waters. For the first time, it also calls for joint special-forces exercises. -- Doug Clarke

    [9] SON-IN-LAW OF FORMER BULGARIAN DICTATOR ACQUITTED.

    Ivan Slavkov, head of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee and the Bulgarian Soccer Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee, on 15 March was found not guilty of embezzlement and illegal firearms possession, Reuters reported. The son-in-law of former communist strongman Todor Zhivkov in an interview with Pari on 12 March had called the trial against him "boring" and had ridiculed it by claiming he intended to use his sporting rifles "to overthrow the government," adding that he was referring to "the former one, since this one will overthrow itself." Meanwhile, Slavkov's son Todor, who had been behind bars for a year on charges of participating in a group rape in 1988, was released from prison on 18 March and placed under house arrest, Duma reported. His trial was scheduled to start on 18 March but has been postponed until 16 April. -- Stefan Krause

    [10] ALBANIAN TOWN DECLARES IMPRISONED SOCIALIST LEADER HONORARY CITIZEN.

    The Socialist-dominated municipality of Tepelena declared Socialist leader =46atos Nano an honorary citizen, international agencies reported on 17 March. Nano is serving the remaining two years of an original 12-year sentence for misappropriation of humanitarian-aid funds in the prison of Tepelena. The Socialists regard Nano as a political prisoner and point to various irregularities in his detention and trial. The honor was awarded in defiance of the ruling Democratic Party. Elsewhere, a court in Saranda has sentenced five communist activists for distributing propaganda leaflets. The leader of the group was sentenced to four years in jail and three others to six months each. A fifth was given a three- year suspended sentence. -- 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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