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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 73, 12 April 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] CROATIAN-MUSLIM FEDERATION NEEDS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT.

  • [2] FIRST MEETING OF INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS FROM BOSNIAN FEDERATION, REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

  • [3] INDEPENDENT CROATIAN DAILY TO FIGHT MOVE TO SHUT IT DOWN.

  • [4] RUMP-YUGOSLAV INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS WRAP-UP.

  • [5] SERBIAN NATIONAL BANK GOVERNOR WARNS OF HYPERINFLATION.

  • [6] POLICE DETAIN KOSOVAR WEEKLY'S MARKETING DIRECTOR.

  • [7] HIGH-LEVEL DEFENSE MEETINGS IN BUCHAREST.

  • [8] CONTROVERSY OVER ROMANIAN CHIEF OF STAFF STATEMENTS.

  • [9] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS TO TAKE PLACE ON SCHEDULE AFTER ALL?

  • [10] MOLDOVAN FRONTIER GUARDS DETAIN BANGLADESHI CITIZENS.

  • [11] BULGARIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES ATTACK AGAINST PRESIDENT.

  • [12] LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.

  • [13] SIX ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATES BANNED FROM RUNNING IN ELECTIONS.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 73, Part II, 12 April 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] CROATIAN-MUSLIM FEDERATION NEEDS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT.

    Federal President Kresimir Zubak told parliament that the federation is in its "most critical period ever" because of "essential differences" between the Croatian and Muslim sides. He called for greater involvement by the international community to shore up the shaky federation, which is one of the cornerstones of the Dayton agreement, AFP reported on 11 April. Vice President Ejup Ganic also stressed that problems are numerous. The legislative session has a large agenda, including adopting a new flag and state emblem. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] FIRST MEETING OF INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS FROM BOSNIAN FEDERATION, REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

    The OSCE and OMRI on 10 April sponsored the first meeting of independent newspapers from both the federation and the Republika Srpska. The journalists met in Banja Luka and will hold their next session in Sarajevo, Onasa reported. The agency also said that David Rohde of the Christian Science Monitor won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his work in investigating mass graves of Muslims murdered after the fall of Srebrenica. In that same area, UN investigators have found evidence of additional mass graves, Reuters noted. Serbian authorities freed 211 Muslims from Srebrenica who had been held as prisoners at Sljivovica in rump Yugoslavia, but they continue to detain 13 others as possible war criminals. The UNHCR has protested, saying that all 224 people should have been freed, Nasa Borba reported on 11 April. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the young Serbian man and his Muslim girlfriend who were killed as they tried to cross front lines in 1993 were reburied in the main cemetery in an atheist ceremony, international media noted on 10 April. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] INDEPENDENT CROATIAN DAILY TO FIGHT MOVE TO SHUT IT DOWN.

    Rijeka's Novi list--Croatia's third-largest and only independent daily paper--will pay a $2.5 million fine to prevent its assets from being frozen but will also fight the charges in court. Editors said that they regard the fine as an attempt to close the paper by bankrupting it, a technique that the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has already used against the independent media. The fine allegedly stems from back taxes and from having imported printing equipment from Italy at a low rate reserved for publications for ethnic minorities, Reuters reported on 11 April. The HDZ lost the October 1995 legislative elections in Rijeka and is unpopular in nearby Istria, where it is regarded as the party of centralized rule from Zagreb. The editors noted that the current move against the paper comes with local elections due this summer. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] RUMP-YUGOSLAV INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS WRAP-UP.

    Following visits to Croatia and Bosnia, Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy arrived in the rump Yugoslavia on 11 April. He met with President Slobodan Milosevic and Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic to discuss rump Yugoslavia's cooperation with the international war crimes tribunal and bilateral economic cooperation such as opening new airline links. Meanwhile, Sweden and Norway gave full diplomatic recognition to rump Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 12 April. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [5] SERBIAN NATIONAL BANK GOVERNOR WARNS OF HYPERINFLATION.

    Dragoslav Avramovic has warned Serbian President Milosevic that rump Yugoslavia is again facing hyperinflation. He has threatened to stop issuing credits. According to Avramovic, foreign-currency reserves are currently falling by $1 million a day, Nasa Borba reported. Avramovic clashed earlier with Milosevic over relations with the IMF. He also urged the government to sign an agreement on new IMF loans, warning that the country otherwise faced "new inflationary suicide." Membership talks between rump Yugoslavia and the IMF at the end of March in Paris failed to achieve any results because the former insisted it is the sole legal successor to the former Yugoslavia. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [6] POLICE DETAIN KOSOVAR WEEKLY'S MARKETING DIRECTOR.

    Koha editor in chief Veton Surroi has told OMRI that Serbian police on 11 April detained Ahmet Kurtolli, the weekly's marketing director. Kurtolli was questioned about the latest issue of the weekly, which was originally banned by the police but appeared in kiosks with one week delay on 10 April. Following international protests, the Pristina prosecutor-general revoked an earlier order stating that the paper cannot be published unless censored by him. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [7] HIGH-LEVEL DEFENSE MEETINGS IN BUCHAREST.

    German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe, speaking in Bucharest on 11 April, said that Romania and Hungary have an equal chance of joining NATO, Romanian and international media reported. Ruehe met with his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, and Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu. He is scheduled to meet with President Ion Iliescu. Meanwhile, Hungarian Chief of Staff Sandor Nemeth is also in Bucharest. At a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart, Gen. Dumitru Cioflina, he said Hungary will back Romania's quest for NATO membership because it would be detrimental for security in Europe and the region if countries belonged to different security systems. Nemeth and Tinca also signed two military accords. -- Michael Shafir

    [8] CONTROVERSY OVER ROMANIAN CHIEF OF STAFF STATEMENTS.

    Meanwhile, Gen. Cioflina denied having said that if the Russian elections are won by the Communists and if Romania is not "co-opted by NATO," the former Warsaw Pact countries (presumably excluding Moscow) will have to set up an alliance "to counterbalance Soviet influence in this part of Europe." This statement was reported by the daily Evenimentul zilei on 11 April. Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu the same day said that the statements reported by Romanian and international media were taken out of context and harmed Romania's image abroad, Radio Bucharest reported. Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca said Cioflina's comment was simply a "reaction by a [member of the] military" to a "hypothetical scenario." -- Michael Shafir

    [9] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS TO TAKE PLACE ON SCHEDULE AFTER ALL?

    TheConstitutional Court on 11 April ruled that the recent laws on public administration and local elections are constitutional, Romanian media reported. Nicolae Manolescu, leader of the Party of Civic Alliance, rejected the Party of Romanian National Unity's claim that elections will have to be postponed as a result of the Constitutional Court's examination of the legislation. He said the local election campaign will be shortened from 45 to 30 days so that the ballot can be held on 26 May. -- Michael Shafir

    [10] MOLDOVAN FRONTIER GUARDS DETAIN BANGLADESHI CITIZENS.

    Moldovan frontier guards detained 14 Bangladeshi citizens who were trying to cross the border into Romania, BASA press reported on 11 April. The 14 had hidden in a truck container driven by a Moldovan citizen. Last year, 3,356 Asians were detained while trying to illegally cross the Moldovan- Romanian border, apparently on their way to the West. -- Michael Shafir

    [11] BULGARIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES ATTACK AGAINST PRESIDENT.

    Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov has accused President Zhelyu Zhelev of trying to "provoke a catastrophe" in the country, Reuters reported on 11 April. Videnov said that Zhelev is blocking laws, enflaming the war between state institutions, and "mocking our national prosperity, dignity and security." Zhelev recently tried to block controversial tax law amendments that, he argues, will damage small businesses and stifle the country's fragile private sector. Zhelev can veto legislation only once. The amendments were upheld by the parliament on 11 April and will shortly become law. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN BULGARIA.

    Algirdas Brazauskas arrived in Sofia on 11 April, Reuters reported. His visit was overshadowed by the long- running feud between Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev and Premier Zhan Videnov. Atanas Pavlov, the government's chief of protocol, criticized Zhelev for failing to schedule a meeting with Videnov during Brazauskas' two-day visit. Lithuanian journalists have interpreted Videnov's failure to attend a speech given by Brazauskas in the Bulgarian parliament as a snub against Zhelev. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] SIX ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATES BANNED FROM RUNNING IN ELECTIONS.

    An election commission has banned six candidates from the opposition Democratic Alliance from running in the 26 May elections, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 12 April. The controversial screening law, which was adopted last fall, prohibits all former high-ranking communist officials from running for public office until 2005. Among those banned are Prec Zogaj, the editor-in-chief of Aleanca (the party mouthpiece) and former Defense Minister Perikli Teta. Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka and Secretary General Arben Imami are both allowed to run. The composition of the commission, which is dominated by the ruling Democratic Party and the government, was severely criticized by the opposition. -- 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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