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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 75, 16 April 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] BOSNIA BEGINS FORMAL PAYMENTS TO SOLDIERS.

  • [2] BIHAC KINGPIN LAUNCHES NEW PARTY.

  • [3] BOSNIA'S EX-COMMUNISTS APPEAL FOR ANTI-NATIONALIST VOTE.

  • [4] PALE LEADERSHIP TEST TERMS OF PEACE TREATY.

  • [5] SLOVENIA AND CROATIA PLEDGE AID FOR BOSNIA.

  • [6] SLOVENIAN--RUMP YUGOSLAV RELATIONS REMAIN STRAINED.

  • [7] MOLDOVA: A CROSSROADS FOR ILLEGAL MIGRATION.

  • [8] UPDATE ON EBRD MEETING IN SOFIA.

  • [9] KIRO GLIGOROV REJECTS EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.

  • [10] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES ELECTION COMMISSION.

  • [11] MONTENEGRIN SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT?


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 75, Part II, 16 April 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] BOSNIA BEGINS FORMAL PAYMENTS TO SOLDIERS.

    Bosnian authorities held official ceremonies to start paying soldiers, invalids, and families of dead soldiers for their contributions during the war, Oslobodjenje reported on 16 April. The problem is that the government has little or no money to meet its obligations, so instead of paying in cash it is issuing "bank books" that show exactly how much each man earned, Onasa noted. The average salary for soldiers is DM 400 per month, which is still a princely wage by Bosnian standards. The authorities expect to distribute up to 3,000 of the bank books daily. It is not clear exactly when and how the men or their families can convert the paper payments into hard cash. All three sides in Bosnia face huge problems connected with the demobilization of tens of thousands of soldiers. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] BIHAC KINGPIN LAUNCHES NEW PARTY.

    Fikret Abdic, one of the country's most controversial figures, has launched a new party, the Democratic People's Community (DNZ), Nasa Borba reported on 16 April. The Bihac- area kingpin has been living in Croatia since his Serb-backed empire fell to joint Croatian and Bosnian government forces last fall. Among his enemies are Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. However, thousands of people from the Bihac region, refer to Abdic as "Babo," or "Daddy," crediting him with bringing prosperity and peace. He appears to have exchanged Serbian for Croatian backing, and some observers have suggested that the Croats' recent arrest of five Muslims allegedly sent to kill Abdic was merely a publicity stunt on Abdic's behalf, Novi list and Politika noted. The renegade Muslim politician himself said that he "was not surprised" that assassins were sent to kill him, claiming that Izetbegovic cannot tolerate the presence of a politican who got more votes than he did in the 1990 elections. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] BOSNIA'S EX-COMMUNISTS APPEAL FOR ANTI-NATIONALIST VOTE.

    The Union of Bosnian Social Democrats (UBSD) is the successor to the former communist and reformist party that took only 10% of the vote in the parliamentary elections, but it held on to the mayor's seat in multi-ethnic Tuzla throughout the war. Mayor Sejfudin Tokic has launched the UBSD's republic-wide electoral campaign by stressing that his party seeks to represent all Bosnians, which, he claims, Izetbegovic never did, Nasa Borba reported on 16 April. Tokic claims that his party has 40,000 members, including some from Serb-held regions. He stated that the Serbian and Croatian nationalist parties will fall apart under internal pressures, but that Izetbegovic's Muslim nationalist party will be a tougher nut to crack because of its radical populist profile. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] PALE LEADERSHIP TEST TERMS OF PEACE TREATY.

    Vice President Nikola Koljevic, whom some see as a possible successor to the indicted war criminal and civilian leader Radovan Karadzic has publicly stated views that are openly at variance with the Dayton peace accord. Koljevic told Nasa Borba on 16 April that "boundaries no longer matter" between the Bosnian Serb state and rump Yugoslavia. He also said that it is not permissible that Muslims and Croats return to their homes on Serb-held territory until Serbian refugees there have been settled. Koljevic noted that the major European powers are coming to accept the Serbian view that Bosnia has no multi-ethnic future. The Economist also said that Europe is rejecting the American and Dayton concept of a multi-ethnic state in favor of a more "evenhanded" approach. -- Patrick Moore

    [5] SLOVENIA AND CROATIA PLEDGE AID FOR BOSNIA.

    The war-torn republic's two northern neighbors have promised financial backing for Bosnia through the World Bank, Onasa noted on 15 April. Ljubljana is offering $3.5 million to repair the homes of 18,000 Bosnian refugees living in Slovenia on the condition that they return to Bosnia. Zagreb will make available a total of up to $20 million by 1999 to rebuild the port at Ploce, reconstruct the Sava bridge at Orasje, and develop waterworks. -- Patrick Moore

    [6] SLOVENIAN--RUMP YUGOSLAV RELATIONS REMAIN STRAINED.

    A normalization of mutual relations between Ljubljana and Belgrade remains unlikely. The Slovenian foreign ministry announced that it is still waiting for a response to its recognition of rump-Yugoslavia, pointing out that this would be a precondition for establishing diplomatic ties. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [7] MOLDOVA: A CROSSROADS FOR ILLEGAL MIGRATION.

    Moldova has detained 500 illegal migrants this year, Reuters reported on 15 April. Moldova's border with Romania has become a crossroads for illegal migrants from Southeast Asia, according to a National Security Ministry statement aired on national TV on 14 April. -- Michael Shafir

    [8] UPDATE ON EBRD MEETING IN SOFIA.

    EBRD President Jaques de Larosiere urged Eastern European Banks to strengthen banking regulation, Bulgarian Economic Review reported on 16 April. He said governments should focus on "macroeconomic stabilization, bank rehabilitation and banking supervision." Larosiere noted bank debts and failure of private banks to stick to basic banking principles as the main problems. Meanwhile, Bulgarian Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Development Rumen Gechev estimated that Bulgaria may be legislatively and economically ready for EU membership in eight years. Gechev added that 106 state- owned companies were listed for liquidation, but pointed out that Bulgaria attracted $60 million in foreign investment in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov promised tax concessions for companies, more than 66% of which are privately owned, Demokratsiya reported. -- Fabian Schmidt and Miat Sadiku

    [9] KIRO GLIGOROV REJECTS EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.

    In an interview given to the Croatian daily Vecernji List, Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov ruled out early parliamentary elections in Macedonia, Politika reported on 16 April. Politika claims that Gligorov's ruling angered organizers of a citizen's initiative which collected 220,000 signatures demanding new elections. Gligorov defended his objections to early elections arguing that "there is no [democratic] country with regulations that allow early elections based on a citizens' initiative," MILS reported. Meanwhile, Gligorov said in an interview to Oslobodjenje on 16 April that he and Bosnian President Alia Izetbegovic planned to establish an association of the Yugoslav republics before the breakup of the state, but were blocked by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his Croatian counterpart Franjo Tudjman's oppositions. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [10] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES ELECTION COMMISSION.

    The Albanian opposition has criticized the commission which approves candidates for the upcoming May elections. The commission has banned more than 42 candidates from running, charging them with either holding high government office in communist times or with collaboration with the former secret police. Socialist Party Deputy Leader Namik Dokle accused the Democratic Party government of arbitrarily changing laws in order to keep party leader Fatos Nano in prison. He also accused the government of changing electoral districts to increase the electoral chances of its own party. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [11] MONTENEGRIN SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT?

    The Montenegrin Helsinki Committee for Human Rights filed an appeal with theConstitutional Court, demanding a review of a law on local self- administration, Beta reported on 15 April. The law was decreed by the Montenegrin government on 1 April and the Helsinki Committee argues that it unconstitutionally increases central authorities' power to interfere in local affairs. The new law practically suspends a number of rights that had been guaranteed to the mainly ethnic Albanian community of Ulcinj. -- 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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