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OMRI Daily Digest II, No. 85, 30 April 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory

CONTENTS

  • [1] TWO DEAD AND FIVE WOUNDED AS SERBS AMBUSH MUSLIMS.

  • [2] IFOR TOLD NOT TO ARREST WAR CRIMINALS.

  • [3] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS SOME IFOR MUST GO AFTER DUMPING WASTES.

  • [4] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA URGES THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO DROP SUIT.

  • [5] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA CANCELS DEBT TALKS.

  • [6] SERBIA REFUSES ALBANIAN CITIZENS RIGHT TO RETURN.

  • [7] BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER RULES OUT RUSSIAN VETO ON NATO EXPANSION.

  • [8] MEDIA LICENSES TO BE REVIEWED IN BULGARIA.

  • [9] NEW PRICE HIKES IMMINENT IN BULGARIA.

  • [10] ALBANIAN FLEET ON STRIKE IN DURRES.


  • OMRI DAILY DIGEST

    No. 85, Part II, 30 April 1996

    SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [1] TWO DEAD AND FIVE WOUNDED AS SERBS AMBUSH MUSLIMS.

    At Lukavica near Doboj, a group of mainly young Muslim adults on 29 April sought to avoid an IFOR roadblock designed to keep the Serbs and Muslims apart and ran through a mine field. Serbs ambushed the Muslims at the other end, and the combination of weapons and mines left two Muslims dead and five wounded, CNN and the International Herald Tribune reported on 30 April. Elsewhere, angry elderly Serbs smashed the windows on buses taking Muslims to visit graves near their former homes in Trnovo, south of Sarajevo in Bosnian Serb territory, the BBC reported on 29 April. Similar incidents took place the previous day when Muslims tried to travel to gravesites around Bosnia for the Bairam holiday. In these cases, the Serbs successfully blocked the Muslims' entry while IFOR troops looked on. The Dayton agreement specifies that there is to be freedom of movement and that refugees have the right to go home. -- Patrick Moore

    [2] IFOR TOLD NOT TO ARREST WAR CRIMINALS.

    Dutch IFOR troops have been specifically ordered by their British commanders not to arrest war criminals, the Rotterdam paper NRC Handelsblad stated on 29 April. The story emerged during a visit to Bosnia by Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, who reportedly said that justice will never be done in Bosnia and that he agreed with the order. A debate has been going on since last summer in the Netherlands over the allegedly cowardly behavior of Dutch UNPROFOR troops at Srebrenica. Last August, the largest single atrocity in Europe since World War II took place there when Serbs massacred at least 5,000 Muslims. IFOR commander, U.S. Adm. Leighton Smith, said that it is not his men's business to catch war criminals: "Hold those who signed [the] Dayton [agreement] responsible [for arresting Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic, Gen. Ratko Mladic and others] and get off IFOR's back," the International Herald Tribune reported on 30 April. The peacekeepers' mandate is not to hunt down war criminals but to detain them if they come into contact with them. -- Patrick Moore

    [3] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS SOME IFOR MUST GO AFTER DUMPING WASTES.

    Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic visited an IFOR waste dump near Olovo in the U.S. zone in central Bosnia and said that the commanders of the unit responsible must leave the country at once. He charged the units with vandalism by contaminating two hectares of fertile soil and polluting the Stupcanica river, Onasa reported on 29 April. Muratovic added that the damage must be corrected and implied that the U.S. firm involved in waste control in the area was dumping dangerous wastes brought in from elsewhere. There have been periodic reports in the local media suggesting that the peacekeepers have seriously damaged the environment. -- Patrick Moore

    [4] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA URGES THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO DROP SUIT.

    At the latest round of hearings against rump Yugoslavia for its alleged involvement in genocide, Belgrade's representative, Rodoljub Etinski, urged the International Court of Justice to drop the case, saying his country had nothing to do with the war in neighboring Bosnia. He described the conflict as a civil war fought between rival Muslim, Croat, and Serbian factions. He also said Bosnia seceded illegally from the Yugoslav federation, violating the rights of ethnic Serbs there, which should disqualify the case from the Court's hearings. Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey countered Etinski, saying that Belgrade played a significant role in the war and violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by arming and supporting rebel Serbs, Reuters reported. He added that Belgrade's support for the Dayton peace accord does not exempt rump Yugoslav officials from justice. -- Stan Markotich

    [5] RUMP YUGOSLAVIA CANCELS DEBT TALKS.

    Rump Yugoslavia's debt negotiating team, led by federal Finance Minister Jovan Zebic, abruptly canceled a 29 April New York meeting with representatives of the London Club of Bankers, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The meeting was to have focused on the distribution of assets among the successor states of socialist Yugoslavia. Representatives of international banks were reportedly stunned by Belgrade's cancellation. Zebic forwarded a letter to his team stating that "conditions are not yet opportune [for talks]." -- Stan Markotich

    [6] SERBIA REFUSES ALBANIAN CITIZENS RIGHT TO RETURN.

    The Serbian Helsinki Committee accused Serbian authorities of refusing rump-Yugoslav citizens of Albanian origin entry into the country, Reuters reported on 29 April. The committee pointed out that the Albanians had valid passports. The protest was issued after a group of 11 Kosovar Albanians were refused entry at the Pristina airport. They were re-directed to Belgrade's airport and also refused entry there. Similar cases have been reported since December 1995. In other news, Kosovar Shadow State Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi sent a letter to EU President Susanna Agnelli warning that the increasing violence in the region may force ethnic Albanians to "take additional measures" to defend themselves. He urged the EU to apply pressure on Belgrade to "stop its provocations." -- Fabian Schmidt

    [7] BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER RULES OUT RUSSIAN VETO ON NATO EXPANSION.

    Zhan Videnov on 29 April said Russia cannot be allowed to veto former Socialist countries' aspirations to join NATO, AFP reported. On the first day of a two-day visit to Vienna, Videnov said that Bulgaria does not see Russia as a potential threat to its national security, but that NATO enlargement and the building of a new European security system are "processes in which no country should veto anything." Videnov warned that NATO enlargement should be "very well thought-out beforehand" so as not to create a "deficit in security or new tensions." Videnov added that there is no prospect of Bulgaria joining Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan in a process of closer association with Russia. -- Stefan Krause

    [8] MEDIA LICENSES TO BE REVIEWED IN BULGARIA.

    The Committee for Posts and Telecommunications (KPD) on 29 April announced that all private and foreign TV and radio stations, cable networks, and providers of other related services will have to apply for new licenses by 5 July, Demokratsiya reported. The KPD will reconfirm or revoke existing licenses within six months after the deadline. A government decree empowers KPD to restrict licenses "for reasons connected to public interest" and revoke them "in the case of actions violating public interest." The decree also lets KPD Chairman Lyubomir Kolarov personally decide which licenses are renewed. Informed sources say that some cable TV network operators will lose their licenses. RFE/RL and Darik Radio may also not receive renewals because of the stations' critical positions on the Socialist government. -- Stefan Krause

    [9] NEW PRICE HIKES IMMINENT IN BULGARIA.

    The government on 29 April decided to raise the prices of petroleum, oil, and natural gas by 1-13%, Demokratsiya and Pari reported. The new prices become effective on 1 May. The same day, electricity prices will go up by 41%. Standart reported that a 15-20% price increase for drinking water is also expected to be announced this week. Chairman of the National Commission for Prices Dimitar Grivekov told 24 chasa that the new fuel prices are due to high crude oil prices on the international market and the strong U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, Krastyo Petkov, chairman of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, in a letter to Prime Minister Videnov published in Trud, blamed the cabinet, writing it has "led Bulgaria into new financial bankruptcy." -- Stefan Krause

    [10] ALBANIAN FLEET ON STRIKE IN DURRES.

    Albanian trade fleet workers in Durres have gone on strike, demanding 20% of the profit from a recent sale of 25 ships. The sale was a step toward privatizing the fleet, but the workers are claiming profit-sharing rights as shareholders in the fleet. Head of the government privatization agency, Niko Glozheni said the law is unclear on the workers' share-holding rights. The workers are now demanding that the State Control Commission investigate the case, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 30 April. -- 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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