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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 57, 20 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] BOSNIAN PEACE PROCESS ENTERS SECOND STAGE.

  • [2] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER UNDERGOES LUNG SURGERY.

  • [3] THREE WAR CRIME SUSPECTS ARRESTED.

  • [4] MUSLIMS, CROATS RESUME JOINT PATROLS IN MOSTAR.

  • [5] AUSTRIA PREPARED TO SEND AN AMBASSADOR TO RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.

  • [6] SLOVENIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS SEEK PLANT CLOSURE.

  • [7] ROMANIAN RULING PARTY, OPPOSITION ATTACK RUSSIAN DUMA VOTE.

  • [8] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS POLITICAL PARTIES' LAW.

  • [9] MOLDOVAN POLITICAL CRISIS UPDATE.

  • [10] GERMAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.

  • [11] BULGARIA TO SELL STATE ASSETS.

  • [12] GERMAN DEVELOPMENT MINISTER VISITS ALBANIA.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 57, Part II, 20 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] BOSNIAN PEACE PROCESS ENTERS SECOND STAGE.

    Crowds in a festive mood came from the rest of Sarajevo into Grbavica on 19 March to mark the reunification of the city and inspect their flats, CNN reported. A wreath was laid atop Mt. Trebevic, the former excursion site just above the city from which the Serbs shelled Sarajevo during their four-year siege, Sky News added on 20 March. Strict controls are in effect to prevent the activity of Muslim gangs that marred the transfer of Ilidza, Nasa Borba said. IFOR confirmed that government troops have pulled out of the Marshal Tito barracks as they were required to do following the Serbian army's departure from the suburbs. The reunification of Sarajevo marks the end of the military disengagement stage of the peace process, which will now focus on reconstruction, elections, the return of refugees, and other civilian issues. Some 90 days after the Dayton agreement came into effect, the republic is now fully divided into the Federation and the Republika Srpska. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTER UNDERGOES LUNG SURGERY.

    Gojko Susak has been operated on at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in the U.S., AFP said on 20 March, quoting Globus. The Croatian Defense Ministry refused to comment, although rumors of Susak's hospitalization in the U.S. have been circulating for at least a week. He is one of the most powerful men in Croatia because of his key office, his close relationship with President Franjo Tudjman, and his prominence among the influential "Herzegovinian lobby" in political and economic life. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] THREE WAR CRIME SUSPECTS ARRESTED.

    Three Bosnian war crimes suspects were arrested in Germany and Austria on 17 March, AFP reported. The Austrian interior ministry said the men, held in Vienna and Munich, will not be identified until they are charged, which indicates that neither is on The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal list of war-crimes suspects. Bosnian Serb media identified one of them as a Bosnian Croat, arrested for alleged atrocities against Serbs, and the other as Muslim, wanted for the same reason. The Hague-based tribunal spokesman Christian Chartier said that a third suspect arrested in Germany matched the description of one of its indicted suspects. He is suspected of mistreating inmates in a prison camp in Bosnia in 1992. His ethnicity was not revealed, but the court statement said the camp housed mainly "non-Serbs." Meanwhile, Croatia's foreign minister told Vjesnik that Bosnian Croat General Tihomir Blaskic, indicted for crimes against humanity, would surrender to the tribunal, while the Serbian President also promised to transfer to The Hague two Serbs suspected of war crimes. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [4] MUSLIMS, CROATS RESUME JOINT PATROLS IN MOSTAR.

    Muslims and Croats agreed to resume joint police patrols in Mostar after suspending them for several hours following a series of arrests carried out by both sides over the weekend, AFP reported on 18 March. EU police spokesman said the police officers agreed to resume their patrols after Muslims and Croats arrested over the weekend were released. Three Muslims were arrested on 16 March in the Croat part of the city following a blast that destroyed a shop. Two Croat truck drivers were arrested in the Muslim part of the city. Despite an agreement on reunification of the city reached during the Geneva 17 March summit, Croats and Muslims maintained their police barricades, AFP and Nasa Borba reported on 19 March. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [5] AUSTRIA PREPARED TO SEND AN AMBASSADOR TO RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.

    Michael Weninger, Austria's charge d'affaires in Belgrade, said on 19 March that Vienna has taken steps to upgrade relations with rump Yugoslavia to ambassadorial level. Nasa Borba on 20 March reported that he did, however, stress that the appointment of an ambassador shall be linked to regional developments. The chargee said Vienna, following the lead of the European Union, is ready to extend full diplomatic recognition "just as soon as mutual recogniton between [rump] Yugoslavia and Macedonia takes place." -- Stan Markotich

    [6] SLOVENIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS SEEK PLANT CLOSURE.

    Slovenia's Ecological Movement, supported by Greenpeace, began to collect petition signatures on 19 March in a bid to try to force the government to close down the country's only nuclear plant, Krsko. If 40,000 signatures are collected by 17 May, the environmentalists will be able to force a referendum on the plant's closure. One Greenpeace representative observed: "In 10 years Slovenia would be able to replace the energy which is produced by the nuclear plant, mainly by new small gas and hydro power plants and by household efficiency programmes." Last year neighboring Croatia said it would give up its claims to the plant and its resources and not protest its closure on condition that Zagreb is fully compensated. Efforts in 1995 in the Slovenian legislature to close the plant failed due to lack of support. Reuters carried the story. -- Stan Markotich

    [7] ROMANIAN RULING PARTY, OPPOSITION ATTACK RUSSIAN DUMA VOTE.

    The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania on 19 March stated that although the Russian Duma's recent resolution denouncing the breakup of the Soviet Union cannot have any direct legal or political consequences, it may represent an infringement on the sovereignty of the newly independent states, including Moldova. Opposition parties expressed fear that Russia might return to a policy of spheres of influence and endanger the independence of former Soviet bloc states, Romanian and international media reported on 18-19 March. Adrian Severin of the Democratic Party said the logical consequence of Duma's decision was "Russia's return to an imperial formula and to an authoritarian rule." Dinu Zamfirescu, leader of the Liberal Party '93, expressed astonishment over President Ion Iliescu's lack of response to the Duma decision. -- Matyas Szabo

    [8] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS POLITICAL PARTIES' LAW.

    The parliament's two chambers on 19 March passed in joint session a long-delayed Political Parties' Law, Radio Bucharest reported. The law allows parties set up on ethnic criteria to function in Romania. Its draft -- and especially the provisions regarding the financing of political organizations and the functioning of ethnic parties -- aroused heated debates in Romania. Parliament eventually adopted a more conciliatory version, proposed by the Chamber of Deputies. Parliamentarians representing the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity and Greater Romania Party, and the neo-communist Socialist Labor Party voted against ethnic parties. Petre Turlea, an independent, described those parties as "racist by definition" and "non-constitutional." Romanian TV said that, if not attacked at the Constitutional Court, the bill is going to be promulgated by President Ion Iliescu. -- Dan Ionescu

    [9] MOLDOVAN POLITICAL CRISIS UPDATE.

    The situation has remained calm in Chisinau as the country awaits a Constitutional Court ruling on the legality of Defense Minister Pavel Creanga's dismissal last week. The move has provoked a serious political crisis in the Republic of Moldova that ended in a war of words between President Mircea Snegur and his opponents. Meanwhile, Igor Smirnov, the president of the self-proclaimed Dniester republic, expressed concern over the situation in Moldova, BASA-press reported on 18 March. He said recent developments signaled "a split among the top leadership in Chisinau." Smirnov on 16 March had discussed the crisis by telephone with Moldovan Premier Andrei Sangheli and Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi, and met the same day in Tiraspol with the Russian Ambassador to Moldova, Aleksandr Papkin, in the presence of Gen. Valerii Yevnevich, commander of the Russian troops headquartered in Tiraspol. -- Dan Ionescu

    [10] GERMAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.

    Roman Herzog arrived in Sofia on 19 March for a three-day official visit, Bulgarian and Western media reported. After meeting with Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev, Herzog said Germany will help Bulgaria during its "difficult transition phase." He also pledged German support if Bulgaria wants to join the EU and NATO. Herzog also proposed German help for the reconstruction of Bulgaria's dilapidated nuclear power plant at Kozloduy, considered a safety risk by the West. Addressing the parliament on 20 March, Herzog said the road to EU membership will be "long and hard." On 19 March, both sides signed a cultural agreement which among others provides for mutual recognition of university degrees. Germany is the biggest foreign investor in Bulgaria, providing nearly half its foreign capital. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] BULGARIA TO SELL STATE ASSETS.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev on 19 March announced that the government will auction off some of the country's largest state-owned companies this year, Western media reported. Gechev declined to list all enterprises, but he said they include a 25-30% share in the national telecommunications company and the Sodi works in Devnya, one of the world's largest producers of calcined soda. Gechev said that if Bulgaria does not have several big privatization deals in 1996, it will not be able to service its debts. According to Gechev, Bulgaria spent 10% of last year's budget to service foreign debt, and another 39% to keep loss-making enterprises going. He said that the government and the Bulgarian business community are "displeased with the quite low level of foreign investment" but admitted that the cabinet failed to create favorable conditions in 1995. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] GERMAN DEVELOPMENT MINISTER VISITS ALBANIA.

    German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Carl Dieter Spranger arrived for a two-day visit to Albania on 19 March, the Albanian language service of Radio Deutsche Welle reported. Spranger told Albanian President Sali Berisha that he was impressed by the progress of reform in Albania and assured him that the German government will support the economic development of Albania and help it reach an association agreement with the European Union. It is his third visit to Albania since 1992. -- 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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