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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 170, 96-09-03

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Open Media Research Institute <http://www.omri.cz>

Vol. 2, No. 170, 3 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] IRREDENTIST CAMPAIGN AMONG AZERIS IN IRAN.
  • [02] GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER PROPOSES REPLACING OSSETIAN PEACEKEEPERS.
  • [03] MORE SACKINGS IN TURKMENISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] FIRST BREAKTHROUGH IN KOSOVO DEADLOCK IN SEVEN YEARS.
  • [05] MUSLIM BOYCOTT OF BOSNIAN BALLOTING CALLED OFF.
  • [06] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING ABROAD YIELDS MIXED RESULTS.
  • [07] WILL HERCEG-BOSNA VANISH?
  • [08] BOSNIAN AND CROATIAN SHORTS.
  • [09] BREAKTHROUGH ON THE SERBIAN STRIKE FRONT?
  • [10] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.
  • [11] ROMANIAN COALITION BREAKS.
  • [12] DNIESTER REGION MARKS "INDEPENDENCE DAY."
  • [13] BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS' PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REJECTED.
  • [14] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ENDS ALBANIAN VISIT.
  • [15] COUNCIL OF EUROPE THREATENS TO SUSPEND ALBANIA.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] IRREDENTIST CAMPAIGN AMONG AZERIS IN IRAN.

    Tens of thousands of ethnic Azeris in Iran have signed a petition calling on their deputies in the Iranian parliament to introduce legislation demanding the "return" to Iran of 17 cities in the Caucasus, including Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, AFP reported on 31 August, quoting the Iranian daily newspaper Abrar. The petition calls on the leadership of Azerbaijan to "be courageous and recognize historical facts" and accede to these demands. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER PROPOSES REPLACING OSSETIAN PEACEKEEPERS.

    Meeting in Tbilisi with the deputy head of the OSCE mission in Georgia, Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze proposed disbanding the joint Georgian-Russian-Osetian peacekeeping force deployed in Tskhinvali since 1992 and replacing it with a group of Russian and Georgian military observers, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 August. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] MORE SACKINGS IN TURKMENISTAN.

    Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov has sacked Supreme Court Chairman Amanmurad Kakabayev and Deputy Interior Minister Amangeldy Geldykurbanov, Reuters reported on 29 August. The two were dismissed for "failing in his responsibilities" and "serious shortcomings," repectively, according to the agency. A 28 August Turkmen Radio report monitored by the BBC reported that Geldykurbanov, who was also the head of Turkmenistan's Higher Militia School, was demoted and expelled from all Interior Ministry bodies. He was replaced at the school by Gurbanmukhammet Kasymov. No replacement for Kakabayev has been announced. Niyazov deplored "an epidemic of corruption which has touched all levels in the justice authorities," Reuters reported, citing Neitralny Turkmenistan. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] FIRST BREAKTHROUGH IN KOSOVO DEADLOCK IN SEVEN YEARS.

    Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova signed an agreement on the return of ethnic-Albanian elementary and secondary school children to school premises on 1 September, international media reported. The agreement, negotiated under mediation of the Roman Catholic community San'Egidio, is apolitical and both sides expressed the understanding that it was of purely social and humanitarian character. It is, however, the first case in which Milosevic accepted Rugova as a negotiating partner. Albanians in Kosovo have been boycotting the Serbian schools and established an underground school system in private homes since 1990. Albanian President Sali Berisha praised the accord as an important step for human rights. Rugova said the agreement lacked clarification on the status of university education. A committee made up of three members from each side has been appointed to work out terms for applying the accord. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [05] MUSLIM BOYCOTT OF BOSNIAN BALLOTING CALLED OFF.

    The governing Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and the opposition Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (SBiH) have decided to call off their threat of an election boycott, the BBC reported on 31 August. The OSCE apparently told them that the current election rosters--which the Serbs in particular had packed to gain strategic advantages in key towns--will not be used after the 14 September vote. The SDA and SBiH were thereby reassured that the Serbs would not be able to use the lists as a basis for rigged voting in future local elections or referendums. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING ABROAD YIELDS MIXED RESULTS.

    Voting in Serbia and Montenegro continued to produce a poor turnout, with only 25% of those eligible having cast their ballots by the end of the weekend, AFP reported on 2 September. Voting there began on 28 August and is slated to end on 3 September. The initial call by the SDA and SBiH for a boycott apparently helped contribute to a low turnout among Muslims in Germany, and as of 2 September only 10% of the ballot papers from that country had been returned. Many could still be in the mail, however, so the last word is not in. Things were considerably different in Croatia, however, where some two-thirds of the potential electorate turned out to vote on 31 August-1 September. Many others were expected to travel home to cast their ballots in person. OSCE monitors described the vote in Croatia as "without fraud or major irregularities." The only problem was in Dubrovnik, where 1,700 voters were given Serbian ballots by mistake and will later have to be issued Croat-Muslim ones. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] WILL HERCEG-BOSNA VANISH?

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum announced on 30 August the self-styled Bosnian Croat para-state of Herceg-Bosna would legally cease to exist as of the next day, international media reported. In turn, certain republican, mostly Muslim-controlled ministries would be also dissolved into joint federal structures. Kornblum said specific institutions of Herceg-Bosna would be changed over the coming fortnight. But nothing really changed on 31 August. Ivan Bender, the Herceg-Bosna senior official, said Bosnian Croats will abolish their para-state only after getting guarantees from Muslims about simultaneous dissolution of the republic authorities, Dnevni Avaz reported on 3 September. Bender announced the para-state of Herceg-Bosna will be replaced by the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, a future political institution to guarantee political rights of Bosnian Croats. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] BOSNIAN AND CROATIAN SHORTS.

    Four explosions rocked Brcko early on 1 September, hitting three Muslim-owned houses and one Muslim company specializing in housing repair materials, news agencies reported. This is not the first such incident involving Muslim property in the strategic Serbian-held town, the future of which will be decided by arbitration later this year. In Doboj, peacekeepers on 31 August fired a warning shot at a Serbian ambulance that was transporting unauthorized weapons. Meanwhile, at Ovcara near Vukovar in Croatia, international forensic experts arrived on 30 August to begin work on excavating a probable mass grave. The site presumably holds the remains of at least 250 Croatian hospital patients killed by rump Yugoslav forces who took the town in November 1991. Vukovar is synonymous with heroism and martyrdom in Croatia, and work at the site will be followed closely by a broad public. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] BREAKTHROUGH ON THE SERBIAN STRIKE FRONT?

    The director of the Zastava arms facility in Kragujevac, Col. Vukasin Filipovic, is resigning, Nasa Borba reported on 2 September. Beta on 29 August reported him saying that same day that he fully intended to resign, noting the action "was for the [future] good of the plant, for the honest workers . . . and to preserve the integrity of the office of plant director." Zastava workers are waging a strike action, demanding unpaid wages, and have insisted on Filipovic's ouster (see ). Meanwhile, on 29 August Beta also reported that Tomislav Banovic, chair of the Council of Independent Workers of Serbia, said that with the conclusion of "an agreement with the federal government," most of the Zastava workers' demands had been addressed and the issue of unpaid wages "should be resolved through negotiations with plant management." -- Stan Markotich

    [10] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.

    Slovenian President Milan Kucan opened a second round of dialogues on 2 September with the country's political parties, aimed at securing agreement on a national election date, Reuters reported. By 3 September, Kucan is expected to have met with representatives of 11 parties. According to the Slovenian constitution, Kucan will have to announce the date 60 to 90 days in advance, and an election must be held between 27 October and 8 December 1996. In other news, Nasa Borba of 31 August-1 September reported that Slovenian Premier Janez Drnovsek reiterated at a recent press conference that Slovenia "wants normalized relations with [rump Yugoslavia]." He added that Belgrade "continues to be overly preoccupied with the question of continuity," suggesting that outstanding issue may be a stumbling block to normalization. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] ROMANIAN COALITION BREAKS.

    The Party of Social Democracy in Romania on 2 September decided to oust its junior partner from the governmental coalition, Radio Bucharest announced on 2 September. The decision was made after the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), at a meeting the previous day, reiterated attacks on President Ion Iliescu over his intent to sign the Romanian-Hungarian basic treaty. PUNR Chairman Gheorghe Funar earlier called the intention "treason" and called for Iliescu's suspension from office. Transportation Minister Aurel Novac immediately announced he was resigning as PUNR deputy chairman and from the party itself in protest against what he called Funar's "unjustified" attacks on Iliescu, which he said are aimed at building "political capital" in Funar's race against the incumbent president. Novac will stay in the government as an independent. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu asked Iliescu to approve the dismissal of the other three PUNR ministers and said their replacements will be made known on 3 September. -- Michael Shafir

    [12] DNIESTER REGION MARKS "INDEPENDENCE DAY."

    Moldova's breakaway Dniester region on 2 September staged what Reuters called "pompous" celebrations to mark the sixth anniversary of the region's "independence." Several thousand Dniester troops marched in Tiraspol's main square. Leader Igor Smirnov read congratulatory telegrams from the heads of several autonomous Russian regions and from the leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Infotag quoted Smirnov as saying there will be no voting for the Moldovan presidential elections on Dniester territory. Those wishing to vote will not be obstructed from doing so, but will have to travel to the territory controlled by Chisinau, Smirnov said. -- Michael Shafir

    [13] BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS' PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REJECTED.

    The Supreme Court on 2 September rejected an appeal against the Central Electoral Commission's (TsIK) refusal to register Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski as presidential candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on the grounds that he is not a "Bulgarian citizen by birth" as required by the constitution, Bulgarian media reported. The unanimous decision of a five- member magistrate under Chief Justice Rumen Yankov is final. The BSP daily Duma accused the court of acting on political orders by the opposition. Pirinski has not commented so far. He will hold a press conference on 3 September. Trud named Culture Minister Ivan Marazov--so far Pirinski's running mate--as the most likely new BSP candidate. Other possible candidates include Parliament Chairman Blagovest Sendov and Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev. A BSP plenary meeting is expected to decide on a new candidate later this week. -- Stefan Krause

    [14] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ENDS ALBANIAN VISIT.

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos left Albania on 1 September after a two-day official visit, AFP reported. The previous day he met with Albanian President Sali Berisha in Vlora after inaugurating the Greek consulate in Gjirokastra. The two countries agreed to set up a department of Albanian language at Athens University, and a Greek high school in Tirana. Berisha and Pangalos also discussed ways to legalize the immigration of Albanians to Greece as seasonal workers. Berisha accepted an invitation from Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos for a visit in the near future. In other news, Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic arrived in Tirana on 2 September. He met Berisha and Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [15] COUNCIL OF EUROPE THREATENS TO SUSPEND ALBANIA.

    Lord Finsberg, leading a delegation of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, implied that the Council was ready to suspend Albania unless the government and opposition parties respected its call to start serious talks to sort out their differences, Reuters reported on 30 August. Finsberg also said the Council would send technical aid to Albania to help it hold free and fair local elections on 20 October. Meanwhile, the Socialists pledged to participate fully in the local ballot, but demanded the government guarantee free and fair elections. They further demanded round-table talks to change the electoral law, a new constitution and new parliamentary elections as soon as possible and the annulment of the controversial "genocide law." -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Victor Gomez and Janet Hofmann
    News and information as of 1200 CET


    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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