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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 172, 96-09-05

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 172, 5 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS ON EMIGRATION OF DRAFT AGE MEN.
  • [02] BOMB ATTACK IN GORNO-BADAKHSHAN.
  • [03] RUSSIAN TROOPS OUT OF KAZAKSTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] IZETBEGOVIC: SDA WILL BOYCOTT VOTE IF HERCEG-BOSNA REMAINS.
  • [05] PLAVSIC WARNS FEDERATION DELEGATION NOT TO VISIT BRCKO.
  • [06] OSCE FUNDS PARTY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING.
  • [07] SERB POLICE, MOB BLOCK BRITISH TROOPS.
  • [08] NEW ETHNIC CLEANSING IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
  • [09] DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF SERBIA SNUBS "TOGETHERNESS."
  • [10] SKOPJE, BELGRADE SIGN TRADE AGREEMENTS.
  • [11] SNEGUR PROPOSES RESUMPTION OF TALKS ON DNIESTER STATUS.
  • [12] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.
  • [13] BIG BREAKTHROUGH IN ALBANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS ON EMIGRATION OF DRAFT AGE MEN.

    The Armenian Defense Ministry has called for closer monitoring of all men aged 18-30 who wish to leave the country in order to prevent them from avoiding the draft, Ekho Moskvy reported on 2 September. The call comes after a 22 August Armenian government decree on drafting first category reserve officers in September 1996. Armenian officers who graduate from military academies in Russia are increasingly seeking postings at the two Russian military bases in Armenia in order to avoid service in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turan reported on 28 August. Russian-Armenian joint military maneuvers have been scheduled for 23- 27 September, immediately after the Armenian presidential election, according to Noyan Tapan. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] BOMB ATTACK IN GORNO-BADAKHSHAN.

    A bomb exploded in front of the regional administration building of Gorno- Badakhshan on 4 September, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian border guards claimed that local drug rings planted the bomb as a reaction to an official crackdown on narcotics trafficking, a curfew in force in some border areas, the tightening of passport controls, and Russian efforts to cooperate with Afghan border troops to prevent Tajik opposition from making an incursion from Afghanistan into Tajikistan. The explosion reportedly occurred minutes after regional officials and police chiefs had concluded a meeting in the building. It may have been intended to dynamite Russian efforts to pacify the Pamir region. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [03] RUSSIAN TROOPS OUT OF KAZAKSTAN.

    Russia is currently withdrawing two divisions of Strategic Rocket Troops from Kazakstan that had been stationed in the Turgaisk and Semipalatinsk regions, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 September. The last Russian strategic missile nuclear warheads were pulled out of Kazakstan in April 1995. The joint Russian- Kazakstani commission dealing with the withdrawal met in Almaty on 4 September. In future meetings, they plan to discuss the work of destroying the SS-18 missile silos and the transfer of military infrastructure and equipment to Kazakstan. -- Doug Clarke

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] IZETBEGOVIC: SDA WILL BOYCOTT VOTE IF HERCEG-BOSNA REMAINS.

    Alija Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president and leader of the ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA), on 4 September said his party will boycott the forthcoming Bosnian ballot if the Bosnian Croat para-state of Herceg-Bosna is not dissolved, AFP reported the next day. Izetbegovic also said he would not recognize the Serbian entity in Bosnia unless 600,000 non-Serbs expelled during the war return there. Speaking to a meeting of 20,000 SDA supporters in the southern town of Jablanica, Izetbegovic threatened for the second time this week that the largest Muslim party might boycott the 14 September poll. According to a U.S.-brokered agreement, Herceg-Bosna should have been dismantled on 31 August (see ). But as

    of 4 September its government was still working, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [05] PLAVSIC WARNS FEDERATION DELEGATION NOT TO VISIT BRCKO.

    Acting Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic on 4 September informed Roberts Owen, the Brcko arbitration group chairman, that the Republika Srpska has not approved an announced visit by a federal delegation to this northern Bosnian town, Nasa Borba reported. Owen had earlier said a delegation from the Bosnian federation should come to Brcko to inspect the town's infrastructure. But Plavsic warned that if the federal delegation tries to enter Brcko--which both entities claim--they will be stopped, and if incidents develop, those who authorized the arrival will bear the responsibility. Plavsic also said Owen does not have "jurisdiction" to give permission for inspection, and only Republika Srpska authorities have such powers. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats agreed on 4 September to allow the exhumation of alleged mass graves in territories they control, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [06] OSCE FUNDS PARTY OF ETHNIC CLEANSING.

    The OSCE, which is supervising the 14 September Bosnian elections, has paid $222,000 to the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) out of a $3.4 million fund to help political parties. The SSJ is headed by Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as Arkan, who is an internationally wanted felon and a suspected war criminal. His paramilitary gangs are generally believed to have committed some of the worst atrocities associated with ethnic cleansing in the wars in Bosnia and Croatia. German taxpayers provide over half the funds, AFP reported on 5 September, quoting The Guardian. The OSCE's Jean Ouellet defended the payment, saying, "The political campaign funding is basically for all political parties to get their message across. We may not agree with some of them, but we cannot censor them. There is still the right to free speech in this particular country." -- Patrick Moore

    [07] SERB POLICE, MOB BLOCK BRITISH TROOPS.

    Bosnian Serb police and--in a now familiar pattern--"a typical Balkan mob" of 300 civilians blocked British IFOR soldiers who were attempting to remove illegal weapons near Banja Luka. The NATO troops left only after taking shelter at a Bosnian Serb army base, the BBC reported on 5 September. In Bihac, the trial in absentia of local kingpin and accused war criminal Fikret Abdic began on 4 September, Oslobodjenje reported. In Sarajevo, the OSCE has confirmed 3,398 candidates for the 14 September elections. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] NEW ETHNIC CLEANSING IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.

    Ethnic-related incidents continue as the 14 September elections approach, news agencies reported on 3 September. The common denominator seems to be the determination of nationalists to consolidate "ethnically pure" regions as a prelude to a possible breakup of the country along ethnic lines. In a Banja Luka suburb, some of the town's few remaining Muslims were driven from their homes by Serbs and had to be evacuated by the UN. In Croatian-held west Mostar, a gang tried to throw a Muslim woman from her balcony, while other Croats succeeded in driving an ethnically mixed couple out of town. In the strategic Serbian-held town of Brcko, a series of incidents has taken place against Muslim property. In Muslim-held Bugojno, former Croat residents returning for an election meeting were pelted with stones by Muslims, although the rally nonetheless took place, Vecernji list reported on 4 September. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF SERBIA SNUBS "TOGETHERNESS."

    Vojislav Kostunica, head of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), said 4 September that his party would not accept an invitation to join several other opposition parties in a grand coalition aimed at ousting the ruling Socialists in the 3 November elections. Nasa Borba on 5 September reported that Kostunica said one major point of contention with the "Zajedno" (together) coalition agreement is that it bars signatories from joining with non- signatories in a postelection coalition. We're going to the polls by ourselves, " Kostunica said. The leaders of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), the Democratic Party (DS), and the Serbian Civic League (GSS)--Vuk Draskovic, Zoran Djindjic, and Vesna Pesic--on 2 September signed the agreement, which gives the SPO 54% of allotted federal list seats, with 41% for the DS and 5% for the GSS. -- Stan Markotich

    [10] SKOPJE, BELGRADE SIGN TRADE AGREEMENTS.

    Visiting Prime Minister Radoje Kontic of rump Yugoslavia and his Macedonian counterpart Branko Crvenkovski on 4 September signed seven trade and economic agreements aimed at liberalizing bilateral trade, Reuters and Nova Makedonija reported. Kontic said the agreements "envisage [a total of] $1 billion [in bilateral trade] over the next year." The documents include agreements on protection of investments, against double taxation, on customs cooperation, and on the regulation of air and rail traffic. In 1989, trade between the then-Yugoslav republics of Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro totaled $2.5 billion. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] SNEGUR PROPOSES RESUMPTION OF TALKS ON DNIESTER STATUS.

    In a letter addressed to the leader of the breakaway Dniester region, Igor Smirnov, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur proposed the resumption of talks on the region's special status, Moldovan agencies reported on 4 September. Snegur said after the two sides' teams meet to discuss the negotiation process, a summit of the two leaders should have on its agenda "the current situation and the most urgent economic issues." He denied accusations that a "standstill" had been reached on the special status talks. The two leaders had agreed in June on a memorandum on normalizing relations, but Snegur later refused to sign the document, saying it would legitimize the separate existence of the Dniester region and infringe on Moldovan sovereignty. The leadership in Tiraspol reacted by calling the proposal "one more change" in Snegur's stance and said there was "no hope for the resumption of negotiations before the Moldovan presidential elections" scheduled for 17 November. -- Michael Shafir

    [12] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.

    The Supreme Court on 4 September overruled the Central Electoral Commission and ordered it to register the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the united opposition, Petar Stoyanov and Todor Kavaldzhiev, Demokratsiya reported. The decision of a five-member magistrate was unanimous. It is final and cannot be appealed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister and Bulgarian Socialist Party Chairman Zhan Videnov called on his party's followers over the national media to support the Socialist team: Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova. -- Stefan Krause

    [13] BIG BREAKTHROUGH IN ALBANIAN DOMESTIC POLITICS.

    A round table of 13 political parties and President Sali Berisha agreed to change various procedures to ensure fair local elections on 20 October, Koha Jone reported on 5 September. The agreement is the first step toward ending a political deadlock after the disputed parliamentary elections in May. The agreement foresees that the deputy chairmen of the permanent central election commission and all local election commissions including the polling stations come from the Socialist Party. The only exception are electoral zones in which the ethnic Greek Human Rights party gained a majority before. The duties and rights of the deputy chairmen and the Democratic Party appointed chairmen are equal. The agreement also rules that the opposition gets equal airtime on television and that a disputed screening law, banning former communist official from running, would be changed. -- 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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