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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 173, 96-09-06

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 173, 6 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] MUTALIBOV SUPPORTERS SENTENCED.
  • [02] HEAD OF ARMENIAN STATE RADIO DISMISSED.
  • [03] TURKMEN-AFGHAN TALKS ON PIPELINE TO PAKISTAN.
  • [04] HEROIN SEIZED IN TURKMENISTAN.
  • [05] TURKISH-KAZAKSTANI MILITARY COOPERATION.
  • [06] CHINESE OFFICIAL: UIGHURS BACKED BY "FOREIGN FORCES."

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] FIRST BODY FOUND AT VUKOVAR HOSPITAL MASSACRE GRAVE.
  • [08] BOSNIAN ELECTION DEADLINE EXTENDED...
  • [09] ...AS CAMPAIGNING CONTINUES.
  • [10] HOLBROOKE ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [11] SERBIAN UPDATE.
  • [12] SLOVENIAN ELECTION DATE SET.
  • [13] ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE.
  • [14] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES MEDIA LAW AGAIN.
  • [15] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.
  • [16] ALBANIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO JOIN IFOR TROOPS IN ZADAR.
  • [17] ALBANIANS STORM NEWLY OPENED GREEK CONSULATE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] MUTALIBOV SUPPORTERS SENTENCED.

    The Supreme Court of Azerbaijan has sentenced Adyl Gadzhiev, a close associate of former Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov, and Kenan Gyurel, an Austrian citizen of Turkish origin, to 14- and 15-year prison sentences for taking part in the alleged March 1995 coup attempt, as a result of which at least 50 people were killed, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 September. President Heidar Aliev has often accused Mutalibov, who fled to Moscow in 1992, of trying to assassinate him. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [02] HEAD OF ARMENIAN STATE RADIO DISMISSED.

    The head of Armenian State Radio, Stepan Zakaryan, was dismissed on 2 September following a controversial court case brought against him by Mikael Martirossyan, the head of Yerevan Bread-Baking Plant No. 3, Noyan Tapan reported on 4 September. Armenian Radio had aired programs earlier this year accusing Yerevan bakeries of selling loaves that were below the standard weight. Martirossyan successfully sued Zakaryan and two of his editors for slander, and Armenian Radio was forced to broadcast a retraction. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan recently commented that he considered that both Zakaryan and Martirossyan were in the wrong and that both should be dismissed. Martirossyan is a member of the ruling Armenian National Movement (HHSh); Zakaryan is not. Several other radio editors, including the two sued with Zakaryan, have tendered their resignations. Noyan Tapan reported that "because of the tense situation all radio programs are now being subject to pre- broadcast censorship." -- Liz Fuller

    [03] TURKMEN-AFGHAN TALKS ON PIPELINE TO PAKISTAN.

    Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurahim Ghafurzai held talks with Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat on the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 September. Ghafurzai was quoted as saying that officials from his country, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and major European and Russian companies would meet in the near future to set a date for the construction to begin. He also noted that Turkmenistan plans to open an embassy in Kabul and establish regular flights between Ashgabat and the Afghan capital. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] HEROIN SEIZED IN TURKMENISTAN.

    Russian border guards killed two suspected drug smugglers in the process of seizing a large amount of drugs, including 24 kg of heroin, RFE/RL reported. It is the first reported seizure of refined heroin on the Turkmen-Afghan border. The first seizure of heroin in Central Asia occurred in Kyrgyzstan in October 1995. In other news, Kazakstani authorities reported that about 70% of the 4.5 metric tons of drugs that they have confiscated since the beginning of 1996 had been prepared from domestic cannabis grown in the Chu Valley, which straddles the Kazak-Kyrgyz border, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 September. According to local law enforcement officials, cannabis is grown on 140 hectares of land in the Chu Valley and about 5-6 metric tons of marijuana and hashish can be produced there every year. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] TURKISH-KAZAKSTANI MILITARY COOPERATION.

    Kazakstani Defense Minister Alibek Kasymov signed a memorandum of understanding on a military cooperation agreement with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on 4 September, RFE/RL reported the next day. Details have not been released. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [06] CHINESE OFFICIAL: UIGHURS BACKED BY "FOREIGN FORCES."

    The chairman of China's State Committee for Economic Reform, Li Tieying, on 5 September said from Almaty that Uighur separatists active in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Province are "breaking our laws at the instigation of foreign forces," AFP reported the next day. He also noted that a "small number of people" are involved in the rebellion which Uighur exiles in Kazakstan claim has resulted in the incarceration of an estimated 18,000 Uighur "separatists" in the last five months. At the invitation of Kazakstan's Supreme Economic Council, Li has been discussing China's experience with market reform in Almaty, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 September. AFP reported that journalists were asked by an unnamed Kazak official to refrain from asking Li about Uighur separatism. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] FIRST BODY FOUND AT VUKOVAR HOSPITAL MASSACRE GRAVE.

    War-crimes investigators uncovered the first body at the Ovcara mass grave in eastern Slavonia, thought to contain the bodies of Croats executed in the 1991 Serb-Croat war, international agencies reported on 5 September. The exhumation is part of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia's investigation into events that occurred in the Vukovar hospital and at Ovcara in November 1991. U.S. forensics expert William Haglund said about 170 to 260 bodies were estimated to be in the grave. The site was revealed by a former Vukovar hospital patient who survived the massacre, and reportedly had not been disturbed since last inspected in 1993. Three senior officers of the former Yugoslav national army were indicted last November for war crimes for the Ovcara massacre, but Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has refused to allow their extradition to the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] BOSNIAN ELECTION DEADLINE EXTENDED...

    The OSCE, which is supervising the vote, said 5 September that absentee ballots from abroad can be sent in until 14 September, when the elections will be held across Bosnia-Herzegovina. The governing Muslim Party of Democrat Action (SDA) has called for voting in Bosnia to be extended to 15 and 16 September as well, Oslobodjenje reported on 6 September. The OSCE has reversed its earlier decision and approved the candidacies of Zlatko Lagumdzija and "several hundred" other people running on the slate of the opposition anti-nationalist five-party coalition, the Joint List (ZL). -- Patrick Moore

    [09] ...AS CAMPAIGNING CONTINUES.

    The ZL has accused the SDA and its Croatian counterpart, the Croatian Democratic Community, of having established a de facto coalition, Oslobodjenje noted 6 September. The ZL also called for the leading Serbian presidential candidate, Momcilo Krajisnik, to be banned from the ballot because of his public statements that Bosnia does not exist as a state. In the small part of suburban Sarajevo still under Serbian control, several thousand people cheered at a rally in support of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, news agencies reported 5 September. And in the Bosnian Serb capital of Pale, the leader of the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haris Silajdzic, appeared on a talk show on Bosnian Serb TV, the most important Muslim to be invited to do so since the war began. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] HOLBROOKE ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.

    Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. mediator who brokered the Bosnia peace accord, warned on 5 September that the same political leaders who threw Bosnia into a civil war might win the elections, international agencies reported. He singled out Bosnian Serb acting President Biljana Plavsic, the head of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) Aleksa Buha, and Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik as the greatest cause for concern that "fascists and separatists might be elected future leaders in Bosnia," AFP quoted him as saying. Holbrooke called for another Dayton-type conference after the elections to correct some of the mistakes made at Dayton. He also said a reduced military presence should be maintained in Bosnia after the NATO peace mission ends. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] SERBIAN UPDATE.

    The ongoing hunger strike of the Zastava arms plant workers in Kragujevac seems to be taking a dramatic turn, Nasa Borba reported 6 September, with the protest taking an exacting toll on participants. The newspaper also reported on the fallout from the resolution by the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) to stay out of the opposition coalition "Zajedno" (together), which is challenging the Socialists in November elections. Some party members found the decision highly objectionable, the newspaper noted. Finally, on 3 September Tanjug reported Col. Cedomir Gilanovic's impressions of the rump Yugoslav military inspection team's 26-28 August tour of Croatian army facilities. Gilanovic said the Croatian officers were very professional, and added that a team from Belgrade was to begin a three-day inspection of facilities of the Muslim-Croat federal army on 4 September. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] SLOVENIAN ELECTION DATE SET.

    Slovenian President Milan Kucan announced 5 September that general elections will take place 10 November, STA reported. He made the announcement after meeting with representatives of most of the parties represented in parliament. "Although a consensus with all political parties could not be reached, most favored this date and believed balloting should take place as soon as possible, " Kucan said. The opposition United List of Social Democrats had lobbied to hold off the polling date until the Constitutional Court could rule on whether a referendum on electoral reform should be held before the elections, Reuters reported. The last national elections were held in 1992, and under the terms of the constitution would have had to take place no later than 8 December 1996. -- Stan Markotich

    [13] ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE.

    The campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections of 3 November was officially launched on 4 September. The next day, President Ion Iliescu became the first candidate to register with the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC). Meanwhile, no less than 51 contestations against Iliescu's candidacy were registered with the BEC, the daily Libertatea reported. The Association for the Defense of Human Rights-Helsinki Committee and the League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADO) on 5 September officially joined those claiming Iliescu's candidacy is unconstitutional because he is running for a third term. The BEC must rule by 7 September. Its decision can then be appealed to the Constitutional Court, which, however, is known to be packed with pro- Iliescu supporters. LADO said it might appeal against the court's ruling before the European Court for Human Rights and before the OSCE commission overseeing electoral processes. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES MEDIA LAW AGAIN.

    The parliament on 5 September overruled President Zhelyu Zhelev's veto of the electronic media law, Reuters reported. The Socialist majority voted to adopt the law without any changes. Zhelev had returned the law for further discussion, saying parts of it violated the constitution by limiting freedom of expression and speech. Klara Marinova, media specialist of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and chair of the parliamentary media commission, said Zhelev, by interfering in the parliament's work, "is breaching the powers granted to him by the constitution." The opposition Union of Democratic Forces announced it will turn to the Constitutional Court to have the law declared unconstitutional. The ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom criticized the law for not permitting broadcasts in minority languages and said it conflicts with the European Framework Convention for the Defense of National Minorities. -- Stefan Krause

    [15] BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.

    Special anti-terrorist police found and defused two makeshift bombs in Sofia's central railway station, Bulgarian and Western media reported. Train traffic had to be stopped temporarily, and the station building was evacuated. Two anonymous phone calls less than one hour apart had warned of the bombs. It was unclear whether the calls were linked with each other or not. In other news, 48 flight controllers from the Sofia and Varna airports were dismissed on grounds of participating in an illegal strike. Bulgaria's flight controllers went on strike on 3 September, demanding higher wages, but the strike was declared illegal by the Sofia Municipal Court. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Transportation Minister Stamen Stamenov met to discuss the situation, which might result in serious problems for the country's air traffic. The Varna airport may be closed for lack of qualified personnel. -- Stefan Krause

    [16] ALBANIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO JOIN IFOR TROOPS IN ZADAR.

    The Albanian parliament passed a law on 5 September allowing the Albanian army to participate in peacekeeping missions abroad. A unit of 50 soldiers will leave for Zadar, Croatia, on 9 September to serve with the German IFOR contingent. State Secretary of Defense Leonard Demi said the new law showed Albania was committed to the principles and objectives of NATO's Partnership for Peace. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [17] ALBANIANS STORM NEWLY OPENED GREEK CONSULATE.

    Several hundred Albanians seeking visas clashed with police outside the newly opened Greek consulate in Gjirokastra on 4 September. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, but about 100 Albanians stormed the building and caused damage to the office equipment, international agencies reported. Earlier, the Greek consul had promised he would ease visa procedures for Albanians and issued 500 visas in the early morning before the unrest started. Afterward he said, "We will never make such a mistake again." The consul had made his promise following the visit of the Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to Albania last week. -- 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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