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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 70, 9 April 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] REACTIONS TO RUMP YUGOSLAV-MACEDONIAN RECOGNITION.

  • [2] BOSNIAN SERBS PRESENT EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES.

  • [3] BOSNIAN BRIEFS.

  • [4] CROATIA ARRESTS FOUR BOSNIANS ON TERRORISM CHARGES.

  • [5] MORE MOVES AGAINST PRESS FREEDOM IN CROATIA.

  • [6] SERBIAN CRACKDOWN ON ALBANIAN-LANGUAGE MEDIA IN KOSOVO.

  • [7] ROMANIAN ELECTION UPDATE.

  • [8] MOLDOVAN PREMIER REFUSES TO NOMINATE DEFENSE MINISTER.

  • [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH TRANSDNIESTER LEADER.

  • [10] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES LACK OF SUPPORT FOR ROVER.

  • [11] BULGARIAN POLITICAL ROUNDUP.

  • [12] ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS ELECT NEW PARTY LEADER.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 70, Part II, 9 April 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] REACTIONS TO RUMP YUGOSLAV-MACEDONIAN RECOGNITION.

    Greece on 8 April voiced its dissatisfaction with the mutual recognition agreement between rump Yugoslavia and Macedonia, AFP reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Konstantinos Bikas said recognition of Macedonia under that name "does not help stability in the region and cannot be considered a friendly act towards Greece." Bulgaria welcomed the agreement, saying it will "contribute to stabilizing the climate in the Balkans." Meanwhile, Vuk Draskovic, leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement, said the agreement means "that Macedonia will now be Serbia's bridge to Greece and Serbia will be Macedonia's bridge to Europe." Milorad Jovanovic, representative of the Democratic Party of Serbia, was more cautious, saying the establishment of diplomatic relations was "a little hasty" because talks over the official name of Macedonia have not yet been concluded. -- Stefan Krause and Stan Markotich

    [2] BOSNIAN SERBS PRESENT EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES.

    Serbian pathologists have spent some days examining the bodies of at least 181 people from a mass grave near Mrkonjic Grad in western Bosnia. The area was held by Bosnian Serb forces for most of the war but fell to Croatian units last fall. Doctors say that 102 out of the 181 show evidence of having been beaten to death, Nasa Borba reported on 9 April. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] BOSNIAN BRIEFS.

    President Alija Izetbegovic warned that moves by former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic to found his own centrist party could split the Muslim vote. He added that his own political future would depend on his health, Oslobodjenje reported on 7 April. The daily two days later discussed concern over the rapid loss of value of the Bosnian dinar. A rise in the legal limits on personal income and recent large payments to workers in state enterprises led to the fall in confidence in the currency, Vjesnik wrote. On 5 April, government forces freed 18 POWs, while the Croats released 28, the Onasa news agency reported. Controversy continues over whether the Serbs will be allowed to attend the upcoming conference on reconstruction aid if they do not free all their remaining prisoners. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] CROATIA ARRESTS FOUR BOSNIANS ON TERRORISM CHARGES.

    The Interior Ministry on 4 April arrested four armed Bosnians in the Adriatic town of Senj on suspicion that they intended to carry out terrorist activities in Croatia, Vjesnik said on 8 April. The four reportedly had documents from the Bosnian Interior Ministry in Bihac, and it thought they may have been sent to assassinate former Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic. The renegade Muslim leader has been living quietly in Croatia since last fall, after Croatian and Bosnian government forces put an end to his self-declared mini-state, which had become a client of the Krajina Serbs. Abdic is currently based in Rijeka, north of Senj. -- Patrick Moore

    [5] MORE MOVES AGAINST PRESS FREEDOM IN CROATIA.

    Tax authorities have presented the country's only independent daily, Rijeka's Novi list, with a bill for DM 4 million. Customs authorities assessed the Italian minority's periodical Unija as owing similar amounts, Nasa Borba reported on 7 April. Opposition groups charged that the move is an attempt to crush what little press freedom there is in Croatia, Novi list wrote on 9 April. The tax and customs bills recall the earlier attempt to drive the independent weekly Feral Tribune out of business with a pornography tax. The latest measures come on the heels of two new major restrictive pieces of legislation and the impending closure of the independent Zagreb radio station "101." -- Patrick Moore

    [6] SERBIAN CRACKDOWN ON ALBANIAN-LANGUAGE MEDIA IN KOSOVO.

    Serbian police in Kosovo have closed down the printing house of the Albanian-language weekly Koha, local media reported. The authorities had insisted that last week's issue be censored by the prosecutor-general's office before being printed but the weekly had refused to comply. That office has since initiated legal proceedings against Koha. The prosecutor-general reportedly took exception to photograph montages of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic standing next to men in Nazi uniforms under the title "Anschluss 1989." The montages appeared in an issue commemorating the abolition of Kosovo's autonomous status. Koha Editor in Chief Veton Surroi said he stands "firmly behind the main messages" of the satirical montage. He added that the prosecutor-general's action indicates that the weekly was right and that his office is trying conceal what happened. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [7] ROMANIAN ELECTION UPDATE.

    Nicolae Manolescu, leader of the Party of Civic Alliance, said the Liberal Party '93 may soon join the pact concluded by his party and the Social Democratic Union for the local elections in May, Radio Bucharest reported on 7 April. The pact, which was announced on 4 April, provides for the signatories to jointly monitor election procedures and to support one another in the second round. Meanwhile, a new party calling itself Romania's Alternative held its first congress in Bucharest on 5 April. Also on 5 April, the Romanian Ecological Movement merged with the Ecological Convention, the National Agrarian Party and several non-government organizations to form a party called The Ecologists. -- Michael Shafir

    [8] MOLDOVAN PREMIER REFUSES TO NOMINATE DEFENSE MINISTER.

    Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli has refused to nominate a new defense minister, accusing President Mircea Snegur of ignoring a Constitutional Court ruling (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 April 1996). Sangheli wants Pavel Creanga to remain in his post, but Snegur, in a letter to Sangheli dated 6 April, said investigations have "unequivocally" established that there is corruption within the Defense Ministry and that Creanga has failed to take appropriate measures, BASA-press reported on 6 and 8 April. Snegur also pointed to a statement by 100 army officers on 5 April saying Creanga cannot remain Defense Minister and that the court's ruling has only "aggravated" the situation. The officers say that until the problem is resolved, they will obey only orders from Snegur in his capacity as commander in chief of the military. Creanga says he intends to resume office. -- Michael Shafir

    [9] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH TRANSDNIESTER LEADER.

    Snegur on 8 April met with the leader of the breakaway Transdniester region, Igor Smirnov, in Tiraspol to discuss political and socio-economic issues, Moldovan media reported. Snegur asked Smirnov to pardon the so-called Ilascu- group, whose leader, Ilie Ilascu, was sentenced to death in 1992 for alleged terrorist activities. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Meanwhile, Romanian Justice Minister Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian has urged France to intervene to secure the release of Ilascu, whom Bucharest is proposing for the Nobel Peace Prize, AFP reported on 8 April. -- Michael Shafir

    [10] BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT DENIES LACK OF SUPPORT FOR ROVER.

    Minister for Economic Development Rumen Gechev on 8 April rejected as "absolutely groundless" charges by the Rover Group that the closure of the company's assembly plant in Varna was dictated by bureaucratic obstacles and lack of government support, Demokratsiya reported. Rover on 4 April had announced its decision to stop assembling cars in Bulgaria after only seven months (see OMRI Daily Digest, 5 April 1996). Gechev said the main reasons for Rover's failure were uncompetitive products, a wrong marketing strategy, and lack of funding from the Bank for Agricultural Credit, which owns Rover's partner, Daru Group. He said the government will help Rover to find a new partner in the form of a "stable state- owned firm." Meanwhile, Standart reported that rump Yugoslav car maker Zastava has proposed assembling cars in Bulgaria. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] BULGARIAN POLITICAL ROUNDUP.

    Hristo Miladinov, Bulgarian ambassador in Moscow, has handed a note to the Russian Foreign Ministry protesting Russian President Boris Yeltsin's remark that Bulgaria may join the integration agreement recently signed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, 24 chasa reported. Miladinov noted that relations with Russia nonetheless remain a top foreign-policy priority for Bulgaria. Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev has insisted that the government officially reject Yeltsin's proposal. Meanwhile, Standart reported that Zhelev and Petar Stoyanov have vowed to conduct a fair campaign for primary elections scheduled for 1 June, which are aimed at finding a presidential candidate for the united opposition. Zhelev and Stoyanov are the only candidates in the primaries. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS ELECT NEW PARTY LEADER.

    More than one year after party leader Eduard Selami was fired, the Albanian Democrats have elected Tritan Shehu as his successor, Albanian media reported. Shehu has been acting party leader since Selami's dispute with President Sali Berisha in March 1995, which led to his dismissal. Selami offended Berisha by supporting the opposition view that the constitution should be adopted by the parliament. He also demanded that the position of party leader and prime minister be combined. Meanwhile, Berisha has pledged that the Democrats will promote "both pre- and post-election cooperation" among right-wing parties, Reuters reported. The Democrats' most likely coalition partner is the Republican Party, led by historian Sabri Godot. Godot has said that the two parties have the common aim of "fighting communism." -- 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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