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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 63, 28 March 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] CROATIAN-MUSLIM MEETING SCRAPPED.

  • [2] SACIRBEY WARNS ABOUT FUTURE OF FEDERATION.

  • [3] SERBIA'S SUPREME COURT FREES MUSLIM PRISONERS.

  • [4] WHO OWNS MONTENEGRO'S AIRPORTS?

  • [5] CROATIAN FARMERS, FISHERMEN STAGE BIG PROTEST.

  • [6] MACEDONIAN PRIVATE BANK RECEIVES $10 MILLION FROM EBRD.

  • [7] ROMANIA TO APPLY FOR FULL NATO MEMBERSHIP THIS WEEK.

  • [8] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

  • [9] GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN ALBANIA.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 63, Part II, 28 March 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] CROATIAN-MUSLIM MEETING SCRAPPED.

    The German government on 27 March cancelled a planned session near Bonn to mark the second anniversary of the Bosnian federation and to discuss practical questions about putting federal structures in place. German officials said the feuding allies had to learn that the international community cannot "hand them peace on a plate," AFP reported. The meeting was scrapped because the two sides failed to make any substantial progress on a host of issues dividing them. But Muslim, Croatian, and Serbian lawyers meeting in Sarajevo did set up a Human Rights Commission, Oslobodjenje said on 28 March. The UN police force, meanwhile, protested to federal authorities about an alleged total lack of cooperation with it on the part of federal police, Dnevni avaz reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] SACIRBEY WARNS ABOUT FUTURE OF FEDERATION.

    Muhamed Sacirbey has resumed his old job as Bosnia's ambassador to the UN, saying that peace "will fail if the war crimes tribunal is not supported and does not bring about at least a minimum level of justice," AFP reported on 27 March. He singled out the need to protect mass grave sites and to arrest indicted war criminals like Karadzic and Mladic. Sacirbey also warned that the federation is threatened by powerful interests in the "Croatian para- state of Herceg-Bosna." He alleged that such individuals would like to torpedo the federation, not for the sake of a greater Croatia but for their own "criminal" economic gain. This includes such pursuits as exacting customs and transit duties, the BBC reported on 28 March. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] SERBIA'S SUPREME COURT FREES MUSLIM PRISONERS.

    A group of 24 Muslims convicted of plotting the overthrow of the government and insurrection against the rump Yugoslav authorities were freed in Novi Pazar on 27 March. All of the accused were members of the Party for Democratic Action (SDA) of Sandzak. They were convicted in 1994 and sentenced to six years in prison, but the terms of 18 were reduced following appeals. The SDA members were freed after a ruling by the Serbian Supreme Court Council, Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina reported on 26 March. -- Stan Markotich

    [4] WHO OWNS MONTENEGRO'S AIRPORTS?

    A row over who owns the airports inPodgorica and Tivat has entered the public domain. On 26 March, Zoran Djurisic, managing director of the republic's airlines, told Pobjeda that the airport facilities "are Montenegro's." SRNA reports that Djurisic's remark is in response to a statement by the director of rump Yugoslavia's airline that "[we] will soon be ready to discuss use of the airports with the Montenegrins." But Djurisic added that "[someone] is going to have to learn who the guest is and who the host is." -- Stan Markotich

    [5] CROATIAN FARMERS, FISHERMEN STAGE BIG PROTEST.

    The Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) on 27 March organized a two-hour demonstration to protest imports, smuggling, and comodity prices. Farmers blocked 25 border crossings with tractors and demanded a halt to food imports until Croatia can determine what it can produce for itself, news agencies said. A HSS spokesman argued that imports and smuggling are threatening to ruin Croatian agriculture, from which roughly a quarter of the population earns its living. The farmers blame middlemen and others for the high cost of food, which approaches Western European levels, despite the fact that Croats have much lower incomes. Fishermen on the Adriatic also backed the protest. Meanwhile, Croatia has joined the list of countries banning British beef, Reuters reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [6] MACEDONIAN PRIVATE BANK RECEIVES $10 MILLION FROM EBRD.

    The Skopje-based Komercijalna Banka has received a $10 million investment and loan package from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, RFE/RL reported on 27 March. The package includes a $2.6 million investment in the bank and a convertible loan of more than $7 million. The EBRD said the money is to be used to increase term lending operations to private companies and to state firms undergoing privatization. Komercijalna Banka is one of Macedonia's leading private banks. EBRD President Jacques de Larosiere said he expects it to "play a key role in advancing the transition process" in Macedonia. The EBRD will be represented on Komercijalna Banka's board. -- Stefan Krause

    [7] ROMANIA TO APPLY FOR FULL NATO MEMBERSHIP THIS WEEK.

    The Romanian Foreign Ministry on 27 March announced that Romania will formally apply for full NATO membership later this week, Romanian media and Reuters reported. Romania is expected to ask NATO headquarters in Brussels to begin discussions on the country's admission. A document mapping out Romania's "individual dialogue" with the alliance has already been approved by the Supreme Council for the Country's Defense and will be accompanied by a letter to NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. Jurnalul national on 28 March quoted President Ion Iliescu as saying that drawing up a list of favorite candidates for NATO integration could only "arouse suspicions." Romania was the first former communist country to sign up for NATO's Partnership for Peace program. -- Dan Ionescu

    [8] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    President Zhelyu Zhelev on 27 March concluded a three-day visit to Belgium, Bulgarian dailies reported. Zhelev met with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, EU Commission President Jacques Santer, EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek, and WEU Secretary-General Jose Cutileiro to discuss Bulgaria's integration into Western structures. Zhelev said he was surprised by the interest shown in Bulgaria. But RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent noted that Zhelev was clearly disappointed by the outcome of the talks. Bulgaria's chances of joining NATO or the EU in the near future are considered poor, partly because of the slow pace of reform and partly because of the Socialist government's position. In other news, Zhelev approved the government's decision to recall Ambassador to Switzerland Elena Kircheva, following her marriage to Petar Hadzhidimitrov, a Bulgarian emigre known for his anti-Semitic and extreme right-wing views. -- Stefan Krause

    [9] GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN ALBANIA.

    Volker Ruhe on 27 March wrapped up a two-day visit to Albania, Western agencies reported. He and his Albanian counterpart, Safet Zhulali, agreed to implement 25 military cooperation projects this year, including training Albanian officers in Germany, a joint military exercise, and German assistance in introducing modern command structures into Albania's army. The projects are part of a 1995 bilateral cooperation agreement under which Germany has already supplied Albania with military equipment and helped upgrade the Skanderbeg Military Academy. Ruhe said Germany will continue to back Albania's efforts to join NATO. In other news, Albania on 27 March closed its borders to beef imports from the EU and other European countries out of fear of the "mad cow" disease. -- Fabian Schmidt and 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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