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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 171, 96-09-04

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 171, 4 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ELECTIONS SCHEDULED IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH . . .
  • [02] . . . AND ABKHAZIA.
  • [03] PEACEFUL SOLUTION FOR KARABAKH SOON?
  • [04] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS PRE-ELECTION PLATFORM.
  • [05] GEORGIA REITERATES CLAIM TO PART OF BLACK SEA FLEET.
  • [06] EU PLEDGES TO HELP CENTRAL ASIAN STATES.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] STATES OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA MEET FOR SUCCESSION TALKS.
  • [08] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING ENDS.
  • [09] NEW SLANDER CHARGES AGAINST INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN CROATIA.
  • [10] GERMANY DETERMINED TO RETURN BOSNIAN REFUGEES.
  • [11] SERBIAN ARMS PLANT WORKERS CONTINUE JOB ACTION.
  • [12] CONFUSION SETTLED OVER KOSOVO AGREEMENT?
  • [13] MACEDONIA, BOSNIA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES.
  • [14] ITALY BACKS SLOVENIA ON NATO, EU.
  • [15] ROMANIAN CABINET RESHUFFLE.
  • [16] ROMANIAN MILITARY NEWS.
  • [17] NEW MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.
  • [18] BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS PICK NEW PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
  • [19] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.
  • [20] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN ROUND TABLE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ELECTIONS SCHEDULED IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH . . .

    At a session marking the fifth anniversary of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh's (RNK) unilateral declaration of independence from Azerbaijan, the RNK parliament voted to hold a presidential election on 24 November 1996, according to a 30 August Armenian Radio report monitored by the BBC. The current RNK president, Robert Kocharyan, was elected in 1994; his term expires in December 1996. Under the terms of the Law on Presidential Elections passed by the RNK parliament in May 1996, the new president will be elected for five years; presidential candidates must collect a minimum of 1,500 signatures in their support from residents of at least four of the six raions of the RNK. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] . . . AND ABKHAZIA.

    The president of Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, has scheduled a parliamentary election for 23 November 1996, according to a 31 August Republic of Abkhazia Radio report monitored by the BBC. The existing Abkhaz parliament, elected in early 1992, split during the civil war of 1992-1993; the Georgian deputies fled to Tbilisi where they set up an exile parliament. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] PEACEFUL SOLUTION FOR KARABAKH SOON?

    Azerbaijani presidential adviser Vafa Guluzade believes that a peaceful solution can be found to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem following a meeting in Frankfurt with his Armenian counterpart, Jirair Liparitian, Turan reported on 30 August. Guluzade said that Armenian authorities are eager to resolve the conflict due to economic difficulties in their country and because they have realized that Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be annexed and that no country will recognize the enclave's independence. In Ankara, Liparitian said that a new draft agreement proposed by the Armenian side should satisfy Azerbaijan. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [04] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS PRE-ELECTION PLATFORM.

    Levon Ter-Petrossyan has unveiled his election platform for Armenia's 22 September presidential vote, Noyan Tapan reported on 3 September. The president's priorities include the further development of democratic institutions, a continuation of the fight against crime and corruption in government and law enforcement agencies, and a strengthening of the army and intelligence services. He also pledged to continue free-market reforms while improving living conditions through the permanent growth of wages and the creation of a system of social security. He said a balanced foreign policy will be directed at increasing cooperation with Russia, Georgia, and Iran and at looking for ways to settle problems with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Ter- Petrossyan said he will seek a compromise solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and would like to improve relations with Armenia's diaspora. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [05] GEORGIA REITERATES CLAIM TO PART OF BLACK SEA FLEET.

    Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili on 3 September said that during his recent visit to Kyiv he presented the Ukrainian leadership with an official Georgian claim on part of the Black Sea Fleet, and that a similar claim had been passed to the Russian government by Georgia's ambassador in Moscow, Vazha Lordkipanidze, ITAR-TASS reported. In 1992, Georgia was allocated the naval port infrastructure at Poti and Ochamchire (in Abkhazia) plus a number of coastal patrol boats and minesweepers; it is now demanding an unspecified number of additional vessels to protect its naval borders. At a press conference in Tbilisi on 21 August, Ukraine's ambassador to Georgia, Anatolii Kosyanenko, said he saw no obstacles to Ukraine and Georgia reaching agreement on this issue, BGI reported. -- Liz Fuller

    [06] EU PLEDGES TO HELP CENTRAL ASIAN STATES.

    The EU has pledged to help Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, and Uzbekistan secure membership in the World Trade Organization and to provide these countries with additional financial and expert assistance, according to Russian and Kazakstani media. According to a 1 September ITAR-TASS report monitored by the BBC, the EU will provide Kyrgyzstan with an estimated $30 million up to the year 2000 under the TACIS technical aid program, $15 million in humanitarian aid, and $600,000 to buy medical supplies. Details on the EU aid pledged to Kazakstan and Uzbekistan were not publicized. Kyrgyz and Kazakstani officials discussed the aid with visiting EU external affairs commissioner, Hans van den Broek, earlier this week. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] STATES OF FORMER YUGOSLAVIA MEET FOR SUCCESSION TALKS.

    Representatives from Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia met in Ljubljana on 3 September to discuss the succession issue but failed to make any headway, according to Reuters. A plan submitted by Sir Arthur Watts, legal expert to the international community's high representative Carl Bildt, was discussed at length but ultimately panned. While details of the Watts proposal remain sketchy, international media reports suggest its main weakness insofar as the representatives were concerned was its treatment of former Yugoslav assets held abroad. Shedding some light on the Slovenian position, Miran Majek, head of Slovenia's succession commission, said, "We cannot agree that the new Yugoslavia retains embassies that used to belong to the former Yugoslavia." -- Stan Markotich

    [08] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING ENDS.

    Voting by the 641,010 Bosnian citizens living abroad has finished, international media reported on 4 September. Voters live in 55 countries or territories ranging from Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, and Germany--which have the largest numbers--to Albania and New Caledonia with but a handful each. The turnout was affected by technical problems--including late delivery of ballot papers or issuing of the wrong papers--as well as by various political problems and general confusion about candidates and parties. Voting lasted from 28 August to 3 September in Serbia-Montenegro, where the turnout reached 56%. Many Muslim voters stayed away from the polls in Germany, apparently confused as to whether their leaders back home had called for a boycott or not. Things went relatively smoothly in Croatia, where over two-thirds of those eligible voted. Balloting in Bosnia-Herzegovina itself is slated for 14 September. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] NEW SLANDER CHARGES AGAINST INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN CROATIA.

    The ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) on 3 September filed slander charges against two independent newspapers, the daily Novi List and the weekly Nacional, international agencies reported. Senior editors of the two papers were accused for publishing "lies and delusions," muddying the leaders of the HDZ and its members. The charges were made under a new law providing for prosecution of journalists who offend top state officials, and only a few weeks before the country's first freedom of speech-related trial against a senior editor of the satirical weekly Feral Tribune. Novi List is Croatia's only independent daily, with a circulation of 40,000, and Nacional is a weekly magazine often critical of top officials. A free media was one of the conditions for Croatia's accession to the Council of Europe. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] GERMANY DETERMINED TO RETURN BOSNIAN REFUGEES.

    German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said on 1 September the repatriation of about 320,000 Bosnian refugees will go ahead as planned on 1 October, AFP reported. Kanther said forcible expulsions may have to be used because not all the refugees would return voluntarily. A meeting of Germany's state authorities, who opposed the federal authorities on the issue of refugee repatriation, is scheduled for mid-September, when Kanther will be seeking formal approval of the repatriation scheme. But the Bosnian Ministry for Refugees said the 1 October deadline is too soon for refugee repatriation, and insisted on their voluntary return, Oslobodjenje reported on 4 September. Bosnian refugees in Germany hope to extend their refugees status there due to the postponement of Bosnia's municipal elections, originally scheduled in September, until spring. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] SERBIAN ARMS PLANT WORKERS CONTINUE JOB ACTION.

    Hunger strikers at the Zastava plant are being encouraged to give up that protest, Nasa Borba reported on 4 September. On 2 September Beta reported that opposition leader Vuk Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement had issued an appeal to the hunger strikers, urging them "not to take [this protest] to the end" since the government "wants nothing more than for [you]...to die of hunger." In other news, on 3 September Tanjug reported that visiting Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati met with Milosevic, and that both leaders called for improved relations between rump Yugoslavia and Poland in various fields, including agriculture, economics, and tourism. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] CONFUSION SETTLED OVER KOSOVO AGREEMENT?

    Translation errors between the Serbo-Croatian and Albanian version continued to cause confusion over the education agreement that Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic separately signed in Pristina and Belgrade on 1 September. The Albanian version explicitly mentions universities, while the Serbo-Croatian version does not. But the Sant'Egidio Community, a Rome-based Roman Catholic peace group that mediated the deal, said it had settled the dispute in talks on 2 September. Sant'Egidio's founder Andrea Riccardi said his group would continue to support the dialogue between the Serbian government and the LDK, Reuters reported. "There is no agenda, but I sense the next steps will be in the areas of civil life, culture, economy and health," he added. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] MACEDONIA, BOSNIA TO ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES.

    Visiting Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic and his Macedonian counterpart, Branko Crvenkovski, on 30 August agreed to establish diplomatic relations after the 14 September Bosnian elections, international media reported. Following the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries will sign agreements on economic and trade cooperation, on protection of investment, and against double taxation. -- Stefan Krause

    [14] ITALY BACKS SLOVENIA ON NATO, EU.

    Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said on 3 September that "Italy will give full support to Slovenia's intentions" to join NATO and the European Union, Reuters reported. Those remarks came after Slovenian Foreign Minister Davorin Kracun met with Dini in Rome that same day. For his part, Kracun said both parties had signed two agreements aimed at allowing citizens of each country to travel to the other without passports or visa requirements. Slovenian-Italian relations have been steadily improving since May 1996, after Ljubljana dropped its objections to foreigners owning property, a move widely regarded as enabling Italian citizens whose property was nationalized after they left Slovenia after World War II to buy back real estate. -- Stan Markotich

    [15] ROMANIAN CABINET RESHUFFLE.

    Following the ouster of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) from the governmental coalition, three new ministers, all members of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), were sworn in by President Ion Iliescu on 3 September, Radio Bucharest reported. They are Ion Predescu, former chairman of the Senate's judicial commission, who takes over the justice portfolio; Alexandru Lapusan, at agriculture; and Virgil Popescu, who is now communications minister. Lapusan and Popescu were formerly deputy ministers. The government also dismissed five PUNR county prefects and several deputy prefects. In a press release, the PUNR attacked the PDSR for its decision to break up the coalition, calling it "immoral" and aimed at achieving sole control of the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 3 November. The PUNR also accused the PDSR of jeopardizing the country's national interests by deciding to sign the basic treaty with Hungary. -- Michael Shafir

    [16] ROMANIAN MILITARY NEWS.

    Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca on 2 September signed an agreement in London with the Bell Textron Company providing for the construction of the Cobra attack helicopter under license, Radio Bucharest reported. In other news, Romanian and international media on 31 August reported the beginning of a new NATO 10-day military exercise in the Black Sea. The exercise, conducted near the Romanian port of Constanta within the framework of the Partnership for Peace, is focusing on humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. Apart from Romanian and U.S. forces, participants include Greece, Italy, and Ukraine. -- Michael Shafir

    [17] NEW MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.

    Moldovan Communist Party Chairman Vladimir Voronin has announced his candidacy in the presidential elections scheduled for 17 November, Infotag reported on 30 August. Voronin, who was Soviet Moldova's last interior minister, told Reuters he expected the support of many Moldovans disillusioned by the painful market reforms. In related news, Ilie Ilascu, who has been sentenced to death and has been in prison since 1992 for alleged terrorist acts in the breakaway Dniester Republic, also announced his intention to run. -- Michael Shafir

    [18] BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS PICK NEW PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

    The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on 3 September nominated Culture Minister Ivan Marazov as presidential candidate and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova as vice-presidential candidate, Duma reported. Marazov had been the running mate of Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, who was rejected by the Central Electoral Commission and the Supreme Court. According to Kontinent, BSP leader and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov wanted Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov to run for president, while former party leader Aleksandar Lilov preferred Nikolay Kamov, chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee. Standart reported that Videnov objected to Marazov, saying he is unsuitable as commander in chief of the armed forces and has health problems. The BSP again criticized the ruling but said it accepts it because it respects the democratic institutions. Meanwhile, Pirinski said he will file a complaint with the European Court of Justice for Human Rights. -- Stefan Krause

    [19] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    A Tupolev 154 of the Bulgarian carrier Hemus Air was hijacked on 3 September by a Palestinian man, Reuters reported. He hijacked the plane on a flight between Beirut and Varna, released the 150 passengers in Varna, and was then flown to Oslo, where he surrendered to the police. A Norwegian police official said the man asked for political asylum. In other news, Michael Kapustin, a Russian-born Canadian businessman and former owner of the "Life Choice" investment fund, was extradited from Germany, AFP reported. Kapustin is accused of defrauding investors of $18 million in "Life Choice," an obvious pyramid scheme. Kapustin claimed the fund was developing a cure for AIDS and promised 151% interest in 1993 and 227% in 1994. "Life Choice" paid the interest in 1993, attracting 10,000 new investors in 1994, put stopped paying in 1995 after transferring its funds overseas. -- Stefan Krause

    [20] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION AGREES TO PARTICIPATE IN ROUND TABLE.

    Fourteen Albanian parties, including the opposition Socialists, Social Democrats and the Center Pole coalition, agreed to participate in talks with President Sali Berisha on 4 September, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 4 September. Zeri i Popullit said the talks would focus on a new law on local elections and added that the opposition parties in a previous debate had agreed to the meeting despite the fear that it "may be turned into a propaganda spectacle" by the government. -- 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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