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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 65, 1 April 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] YET ANOTHER AGREEMENT ON CROATIAN-MUSLIM FEDERATION.

  • [2] IFOR TO ACT AGAINST CHECKPOINTS.

  • [3] BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES UPDATE. IFO

  • [4] SERBIAN WAR CRIMES SUSPECTS SENT TO THE HAGUE.

  • [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION ORGANIZES ANOTHER RALLY.

  • [6] STOCK EXCHANGE OPENS IN SKOPJE.

  • [7] U.S. TO HELP MOLDOVA SOLVE DNIESTER CONFLICT.

  • [8] YELTSIN REMARK PROVOKES SHARP RESPONSE IN BULGARIA.

  • [9] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION SIGNS AGREEMENT ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

  • [10] DEFENSE MINISTERS MEETING IN TIRANA.

  • [11] ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT DISSOLVES ITSELF.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 65, Part II, 1 April 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] YET ANOTHER AGREEMENT ON CROATIAN-MUSLIM FEDERATION.

    International mediators met with top Bosnian Croat and Muslim leaders on 30 March to conclude a 20-point program aimed at strengthening the shaky federation, Oslobodjenje reported. One mediator said that three things are new about the text: neither side will be allowed to set conditions; municipalities and cantons that do not implement the pact will not get international aid; officials who balk can lose their jobs, Onasa news agency reported on 31 March. The text sets target dates for establishing a joint bank and budget. It also includes provisions for other common institutions, including customs offices. Skeptics charged that it is just one more attempt at cajoling the two sides into doing what they have already agreed to do many times before. But U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith told the BBC that the pact is "very significant" and that it involves "converting a piece of paper into the real thing." -- Patrick Moore

    [2] IFOR TO ACT AGAINST CHECKPOINTS. U.S.

    Secretary of Defense William Perry announced in Bosnia on 29 March that IFOR will take "vigorous action" to ensure freedom of movement, the Onasa news agency reported. He added that checkpoints must be eliminated. Meanwhile, indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic made his first public appearance in some time, apparently without any interference from IFOR. He spoke at a factory near Pale and handed out medals to Bosnian Serb fighters, Reuters said on 31 March. Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic appealed to IFOR to arrest Karadzic, saying that the "NATO military is capable of removing [him and Gen. Ratko Mladic]. We are begging [IFOR] to do it. There will be no free elections with Karadzic still in power." Meanwhile in Zagreb, the Croatian Helsinki Committee condemned the "plundering and mining" of homes belonging to Serbs in the former Krajina region. The report added that Interior Ministry officials were involved in violations of Serbs' human rights, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 1 April. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES UPDATE. IFOR commander U.S.

    Admiral Leighton Smith has said his troops will assist in war crimes investigations for the first time. They will provide security and other assistance to an international team in the Srebrenica area, news agencies reported on 31 March. The investigators from The Hague have arrived in Bosnia to inspect 12 reputed sites of war crimes in what the BBC called the court's "politically most sensitive mission to date." Meanwhile in Mrkonjic Grad, Bosnian Serbs have so far exhumed 28 bodies from a mass grave in the presence of international observers. The investigation is continuing, and bodies of civilians and soldiers alike appear to be involved in deaths that date back to the battle for the area last fall, AFP noted on 1 April. In Banja Luka, a Bosnian Serb military court sentenced a Croat, Ivan Stjepanovic, to death for war crimes involving the death of 80 Serbs in the contested Posavina region. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] SERBIAN WAR CRIMES SUSPECTS SENT TO THE HAGUE.

    Belgrade authorities have turned over the suspected war criminals Drazen Erdemovic and Radoslav Kremenovic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, RFE/RL reported on 30 March. The two men were arrested in the Vojvodina city of Novi Sad on 2 March. They are believed to have been key witnesses to the massacre of Muslim civilians last summer, when the "safe haven" of Srebrenica fell to Bosnian Serb forces. A representative of the tribunal said both were being treated as witnesses but that they may also be prosecuted. Erdemovic is suspected of having participated in the mass killings, and his testimony may link Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic to the atrocity. -- Stan Markotich

    [5] SERBIAN OPPOSITION ORGANIZES ANOTHER RALLY.

    Three Serbian opposition parties--the Serbian Renewal Movement, the Democratic Party, and the Serbian Civic League--organized a mass meeting in Nis over the weekend, Nasa Borba reported. The parties called for the opposition to unite, and party leaders proposed an election coalition under the banner "A Unified List Against the Communists." Estimates of the number of people who attended vary from several thousand to tens of thousands. Meanwhile, members of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia downplayed the event. TV Serbia on 30 March reported that Mile Ilic, head of the Nis SPS, said the opposition party leaders were "uninvited guests." He said that their efforts would only encourage the local population to "support the SPS and Slobodan Milosevic." -- Stan Markotich

    [6] STOCK EXCHANGE OPENS IN SKOPJE.

    The first Macedonian Stock Exchange opened in Skopje on 28 March. Dnevnik reported that nine brokerage companies carried out 25 transactions involving 395 shares worth a total of $15,000. Some 60 brokers have been trained in Macedonia as part of the Know-How Funds Project and have received international trading licenses. Banks, insurance companies, and savings institutions will trade on the exchange until the government passes a new law on setting up brokerage companies. -- Branko Geroski in Skopje

    [7] U.S. TO HELP MOLDOVA SOLVE DNIESTER CONFLICT.

    A high-ranking U.S. diplomat on 31 March said that the U.S. is ready to help Moldova settle its dispute with Dniester separatists, Reuters reported. Ambassador Joseph Presel, coordinator for regional affairs in charge of the newly independent states, was quoted as saying that the Dniester issue could be raised at the U.S.-Russian summit in Moscow next month. But he added that it was unlikely that "any serious progress" could take place before the Russian presidential elections. Presel is currently on a three-day visit to Moldova, where he met with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and other senior officials. He is expected to visit the Dniester region on 1 April. -- Dan Ionescu

    [8] YELTSIN REMARK PROVOKES SHARP RESPONSE IN BULGARIA.

    Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev and the Bulgarian opposition have responded sharply to a remark by Russian President Boris Yeltsin at the signing last week of the regional integration agreement (see Part 1 of today's OMRI Daily Digest), RFE/RL reported. Yeltsin had commented that "the community is open to other states...perhaps, for example, Bulgaria." Zhelev on 30 March said it was "scandalous to include Bulgaria in a community we have never discussed." He demanded that the government announce whether it has conducted secret talks with Moscow, otherwise he would be forced to believe that it is "committing treason." Opposition leaders denounced the government and said they would organize demonstrations against what they labeled "Soviet Union II." Government spokesman Nikola Baltov the next day denied that the government has held any talks that could be interpreted as "backstage dealings." He said Zhelev's remarks were "perplexing." -- Stefan Krause

    [9] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION SIGNS AGREEMENT ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    The Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), the People's Union, and the mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) on 29 March signed an agreement providing for a joint candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, Trud reported. Peter Stoyanov of the SDS and incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev, who is supported by the People's Union, will take part in primary elections on 1 June. DPS leader Ahmed Dogan said his party will let its members vote according to their conscience. SDS Chairman Ivan Kostov called on the government to assist by providing urns and by opening polling stations. Stoyanov kicked off his election campaign on 31 March by organizing a concert in Sofia. -- Stefan Krause

    [10] DEFENSE MINISTERS MEETING IN TIRANA.

    The defense ministers of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey, Italy, and the U.S. arrived in the Albanian capital on 31 March for a two-day conference on Balkan security, Reuters reported. The "unofficial" meeting was initiated by the Albanian government and also attended by an OSCE representative. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry praised the conference as a "chance for more security in the region." Albanian President Sali Berisha said the aim of the conference was to "boost security cooperation in the region and to discuss military cooperation." Other issues discussed were humanitarian aid in disaster situations and civil military relations. Greece declined to participate in protest at the exclusion of Serbia and Romania. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [11] ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT DISSOLVES ITSELF.

    Albania's parliament on 29 March dissolved itself ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for late May or early June, Reuters reported. Before doing so, it unanimously adopted a new civil code, which is the last step in the creation of a post-communist legal system. A new criminal code was adopted last summer. President Sali Berisha praised the legislature's contribution to establishing a state based on the rule of law and market economy. He noted that it has given "political stability to the country." -- 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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