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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 61, 26 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] NEW MOSTAR ADMINISTRATOR UNBURDENED BY HISTORY.

  • [2] BRAWL BETWEEN BACKERS OF KARADZIC, MILOSEVIC.

  • [3] RUMP YUGOSLAV-TURKISH RELATIONS ON THE MEND.

  • [4] INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS IN BELGRADE.

  • [5] "ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE" OFF CROATIAN COAST.

  • [6] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER CLASH OVER TIES WITH RUSSIA.

  • [7] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN BELGIUM.

  • [8] RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION IN SOFIA.

  • [9] ARE RELATIONS BETWEEN TIRANA, ATHENS STILL TENSE?

  • [10] LARGE FIRE DESTROYS MILITARY DEPOT NEAR TIRANA.

  • [11] GREEK-TURKISH UPDATE.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 61, Part II, 26 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] NEW MOSTAR ADMINISTRATOR UNBURDENED BY HISTORY.

    EU foreign ministers on 25 March endorsed the appointment of Spain's Ricardo Perez Casado to replace Hans Koschnick as administrator in Mostar. He is a socialist politician from Valencia who is better known as a businessman, Onasa reported. The news agency added that Perez "admitted he does not know much about issues in Bosnia and Mostar, which is regarded in Brussels as a comparative advantage, because the new administrator will be more efficient in solving unfinished tasks in Mostar by not being burdened with the past." Perez enters a complex environment that has no fewer than seven police forces, AFP noted on 26 March. Elsewhere in Mostar, the Croats freed 10 Serbian prisoners, the International Herald Tribune reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] BRAWL BETWEEN BACKERS OF KARADZIC, MILOSEVIC.

    Supporters of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic lobbed a tear gas grenade into a meeting of the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS), which is the Bosnian branch of the ruling Serbian party of President Slobodan Milosevic. The incident took place on 24 March in the small town of Blatnica southwest of Doboj, AFP on 26 March quoted Radio Belgrade as saying. Among Karadzic supporters were local police officials. Several people were injured and some had to be taken to the hospital. Milosevic backers said that this was not the first such incident and that Karadzic's people are trying to intimidate the opposition in the run-up to the elections. The SPRS stated that it will file a formal complaint with the OSCE. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] RUMP YUGOSLAV-TURKISH RELATIONS ON THE MEND.

    Ankara and Belgrade are preparing to upgrade bilateral relations, and may restore ambassadorial ties next month. Beta on 25 March quoted an unnamed official as saying that "establishing relations at the ambassadorial level may come as early as April. After that, [Turkish] President Suleyman Demirel is expected to include Belgrade as one of his planned stops during his [June] tour of the republics of the former Yugoslavia." Relations between Turkey and rump Yugoslavia have recently been strained and acrimonious over disagreements related to the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. -- Stan Markotich

    [4] INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS IN BELGRADE. A group of U.S.

    bankers arrived in the rump Yugoslav capital on 25 March. Reports did not specify which individuals or companies are involved, by Tanjug suggested that Citibank, Chemical and Standard Bank, and Saloman Brothers are among the firms represented. Federal rump Yugoslav Finance Minister Jovan Zebic hinted that Belgrade wants to persuade the bankers to invest in rump Yugoslavia's recovery. After emerging from meetings with the group, he observed that rump Yugoslavia is aware of "the need for an international financial injection." -- Stan Markotich

    [5] "ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE" OFF CROATIAN COAST.

    The state-owned oil company INA dumped between 100 and 150 metric tons of waste oil into Bakar Bay, a branch of the Adriatic south of Rijeka. The incident took place on 18 March and led to a protest by local mayors, the pro-government daily Vjesnik reported on 26 March. One of the mayors demonstrated how a stone thrown into the bay floated on the slick. Damage is estimated at DM 6 million. INA is known as a sinecure for politicians from the governing Croatian Democratic Community, and the mayors said it had become "a state within a state." The area is part of the Kvarner region that includes the nearby island of Krk and some of Croatia's best-known tourist resorts. -- Patrick Moore

    [6] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER CLASH OVER TIES WITH RUSSIA.

    A presidential spokesman has rejected accusations by Emil Constantinescu, leader of the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania, that Ion Iliescu is promoting pro-Russian policies. In a communique published in Cronica romana on 26 March, the President's Office expressed "surprise" at Constantinescu's remark last week recalling that Iliescu had signed a treaty with the now defunct Soviet Union some five years ago. That move was widely seen as an attempt to place Romania in Russia's sphere of interests. The Soviet Union's demise prevented the treaty from being ratified. But the Romanian opposition has continued to suspect Iliescu-- a student in Moscow in the early 1950s--of pro-Russian sentiment. -- Dan Ionescu

    [7] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT IN BELGIUM.

    Zhelyu Zhelev on 25 arrived in Belgium for a three-day official visit, 24 chasa reported. Zhelev said only NATO can guarantee Bulgaria's security and the irreversibility of its democratic changes. He added that no country outside the alliance should have the right to block NATO expansion. Referring to the Russian State Duma's resolution on 15 March denouncing the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Zhelev said it only reaffirms the intention of countries wanting to join NATO. Zhelev held talks with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene. He also addressed the North Atlantic Council. -- Stefan Krause

    [8] RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION IN SOFIA.

    A delegation from the Russian State Duma, headed by Chairman Gennadii Seleznev, arrived in the Bulgarian capital on 25 March for a three-day visit, Trud reported. Seleznev accused Zhelev of "getting all worked up" about the 15 March Duma resolution without having read the document first. At the same time, he hailed Prime Minister Zhan Videnov for intensifying Russian-Bulgarian relations, Kontinent noted. After meeting with Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, Seleznev admitted Russia can not prevent any country from joining NATO, but he repeated Moscow's anti-expansion position. -- Stefan Krause

    [9] ARE RELATIONS BETWEEN TIRANA, ATHENS STILL TENSE?

    Greek Defense MinisterGerasimos Arsenis has said he will not attend a Balkan conference on security policy in Tirana later this week, Albania reported on 23 March. Albanian Defense Minister Safet Zhulali has invited his counterparts from the U.S., Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and Italy to take part in the meeting. Arsenis argued that the conference has been hastily organized and complained that Belgrade has not been invited. His announcement is seen as an indication that Greek-Albanian relations remain strained, despite Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos's recent visit to Tirana. Outstanding unresolved issues are opening Greek schools in southern Albania and practical steps by Athens to legalize Albanian immigrants. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [10] LARGE FIRE DESTROYS MILITARY DEPOT NEAR TIRANA.

    A large fire has destroyed an army depot in Ndroq, 18 kilometers south west of Tirana. The depot belonged to an air defense unit, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 26 March. Some toxic material was stored at the depot. No injuries or casualties have been reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [11] GREEK-TURKISH UPDATE.

    Greece on 25 March said that Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's proposal for negotiations to settle the Greek- Turkish dispute over Aegean islets was "insufficient," Western agencies reported. Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Turkey must take the first step to quell tensions between Athens and Ankara before dialogue can be reopened. Yilmaz on 24 March proposed that Greece and Turkey sign a declaration of friendship and cooperation and work out military confidence-building measures. He said Turkey will agree to any mutually-acceptable form of settling disputes, including mediation by a third party. This is the first time Ankara hinted at the possibility of arbitration by the International Court in The Hague, which Greece has proposed several times. -- Stefan Krause

    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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