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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 174, 96-09-09

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 174, 9 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] THREE ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WITHDRAW.
  • [02] SOUTH OSSETIA TO HAVE PRESIDENT?
  • [03] ONE MORE VOTE PLANNED IN ABKHAZIA.
  • [04] UZBEKISTAN'S HUMAN RIGHT SOCIETY HOLDS CONGRESS.
  • [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION SEIZES DJIR-GATAL.
  • [06] TAJIK PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON ISLAM AT DIASPORA CONGRESS.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] OSCE WARNS BOSNIAN SERBS NOT TO VIOLATE ELECTORAL RULES...
  • [08] ...BUT SERBS INTENSIFY SEPARATIST RHETORIC.
  • [09] IZETBEGOVIC FOCUSES CAMPAIGN ON RETURN TO BRCKO.
  • [10] CROATIANS LOOK AT HERZE-GOVINIAN NEIGHBORS.
  • [11] VOJVODINA HUNGARIAN PARTY'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT COALITION POLITICS.
  • [12] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.
  • [13] ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN MILITARY TREATY.
  • [14] COURT REJECTS OBJECTIONS TO ILIESCU'S CANDIDACY.
  • [15] GREATER ROMANIA PARTY "SWALLOWS" ALLY.
  • [16] CHISINAU-TIRASPOL NEGOTIATIONS TO BE RESUMED?
  • [17] IMPRISONED MOLDOVAN LEA-DER QUITS PARTY.
  • [19] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS GOVERNMENT.
  • [20] BIGGEST BALKAN SYNAGOGUE REOPENS IN SOFIA.
  • [21] ALBANIA REJECTS MACEDONIAN ACCUSATIONS OF INTERFERENCE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] THREE ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WITHDRAW.

    Three of the seven registered candidates for the 22 September Armenian presidential election withdrew on 7 September and pledged their support for former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan, the main challenger to incumbent Levon Ter-Petrossyan, Reuters reported on 8 September. A further opposition candidate, Ashot Manucharyan of the Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union, may also withdraw, but Communist Party leader Sergei Badalyan has said he will not. Manukyan is reportedly gathering considerable support for his pledges to crack down on corruption and the shadow economy, to introduce more equitable social and economic policies, and to revise the constitution in order to curtail the powers of the president. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] SOUTH OSSETIA TO HAVE PRESIDENT?

    The Georgian National Security Council views the South Ossetian parliament's 6 September resolution to create a presidency in South Ossetia as a serious threat to the peace process in the region, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 September. The Georgian presidential service stated that the resolution undermines agreements reached by Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and South Ossetian parliament chairman Ludwig Chibirov at their 27 August meeting. According to Chibirov, the final decision by South Ossetian parliament is expected by 13 September. On 7 September, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the South Ossetian parliament's resolution as well. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [03] ONE MORE VOTE PLANNED IN ABKHAZIA.

    Abkhazian President Vladislav Ardzinba plans to hold a referendum in October in which residents of the region will be asked whether they "want to live in an independent Abkhazia or in an Abkhazia that is part of Georgia or some other country," BGI reported. The Georgian government has already expressed its opposition to holding a new parliamentary election (scheduled for 23 November) in Abkhazia before ethnic Georgian refugees are allowed to return to Abkhazia. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [04] UZBEKISTAN'S HUMAN RIGHT SOCIETY HOLDS CONGRESS.

    Delegates to a congress of Uzbekistan's Human Rights Society (HRS) in Tashkent on 7 September noted that the human rights situation in Uzbekistan is "beginning to improve," RFE/RL reported. Until virtually the last minute it was unclear if the Uzbek authorities would permit the gathering to take place. The fact that it did take place may be attributed to Tashkent's efforts to burnish its tarnished human rights image and improve relations with the U.S.. The HRS was founded in 1992 but is still not officially registered in the country. HRS Chairman Abdulmanop Pulatov returned recently to Tashkent after the activities of his group were given an unofficial green light from Uzbek President Islam Karimov. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION SEIZES DJIR-GATAL.

    Rebel units led by a commander identified only as Akhmadbek on 7 September seized the town of Djirgatal, 280 km northeast of Dushanbe, and killed two Tajik militia members, Russian and Western agencies reported. The operation appears to have been staged to coincide with the republic's fifth anniversary of independence on 9 September. The 300-400 rebels disarmed and expelled 46 Tajik militiamen to Kyrgyzstan across the border. The UN envoy in Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, issued a letter of protest on 8 September urging an immediate cessation of hostilities in accordance with the existing ceasefire agreement. - - Lowell Bezanis

    [06] TAJIK PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON ISLAM AT DIASPORA CONGRESS.

    Imomali Rakhmonov told some 250 delegates from 19 countries at a congress of Tajik diaspora that the country's opposition forces are trying to establish an Islamic regime in Tajikistan, Russian and Western agencies reported on 7 September. At the same time, he declare that "we respect" Islam as a "base of moral and spiritual cleanliness and source of culture," Reuters reported. The first Tajik diaspora congress was held in 1992. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] OSCE WARNS BOSNIAN SERBS NOT TO VIOLATE ELECTORAL RULES...

    Judge Finn Lynhgjem of the OSCE announced that "public statements that undermine or deny the sovereignty and territorial integrity of ... Bosnia- Herzegovina constitute serious violations of the [Dayton] agreement," and he called on those who have made such statements "to retract them," AFP reported on 6 September. This declaration comes after weeks of Bosnian Serb leaders openly campaigning for the division of Bosnia. Senior officials of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) publicly declare that Republika Srpska (RS) has the right to secede from Bosnia and join Serbia. The OSCE has done nothing to punish the parties violating the electoral process, arguing that it can only act when receiving a complaint. The main Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has lodged a complaint on the Serb campaigning, and is waiting for the OSCE's ruling. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] ...BUT SERBS INTENSIFY SEPARATIST RHETORIC.

    Despite the SDS spokesman's denials of violating the electoral rules while campaigning, party officials have continued their campaign tour in the same tone. On 7 September SDS head Aleksa Buha said in the northern Bosnian town of Bosanski Brod that Bosnia will disintegrate into separate states, AFP reported. The next day in Trebinje, southeastern Bosnia, acting RS President Biljana Plavsic said Serbs who decide to live with Muslims "will no longer be Serbs, but Turks or Catholics (Croats)," AFP reported. Also on 8 September, in the northern Bosnian town of Kotor-Varos, Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serb candidate for Bosnia's new rotating presidency, promised to lead his supporters into a union of Serb states. He devoted much of his speech to the strategic town of Brcko, claimed by both the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serbs, saying it was "alpha and omega of the RS," AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] IZETBEGOVIC FOCUSES CAMPAIGN ON RETURN TO BRCKO.

    During an 8 September SDA rally held in a village near this northern town, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic underscored the importance of Muslim refugees' return to Brcko, Oslobodjenje reported. Otherwise, he warned of serious trouble but did not clarify. Bosnian federation Prime Minister Izudin Kapetanovic told the crowd "a big battle for Brcko is ahead of us," AFP reported. The town is vitally important for Serbs because its narrow corridor links the western and eastern parts of the RS. It also controls a major communication route between the Muslim-Croat federation and Croatia. If international arbitration on Brcko fails, the issue could result in renewed fighting. In other news, a Ukrainian peacekeeper was shot dead on 8 September early morning by an unknown assailant. The soldier was guarding a warehouse where voter ballots were stored. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] CROATIANS LOOK AT HERZE-GOVINIAN NEIGHBORS.

    A survey conducted by the pro-government weekly Odbor showed that some 58% of Croatians surveyed think parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina controlled by Croats will eventually join with Croatia, AFP reported on 8 September. The Bosnian Croat mini-state of Herceg-Bosna was to have been dissolved on 31 August, with its powers devolving to the Muslim-Croat federation, but so far this has not taken place. In addition, only 19% of the 450 respondents said they feel 14 September elections in Bosnia will have the effect of reinforcing Bosnia as a multiethnic state made up of Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. Nearly 61%, however, said they feel the elections will divide Bosnia's ethnic communities. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] VOJVODINA HUNGARIAN PARTY'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT COALITION POLITICS.

    The Democratic Community of Hungarians in Voj-vodina (DZVM), during its annual general meeting in Subotica on 7 September, resolved to stay out of any coalitions heading into federal rump Yugoslav general elections on 3 November. According to party leader Andras Agoston, joining a coalition, which may include parties not advocating regional autonomy for Vojvodina, may compromise the DZVM in its aim of promoting this objective, Nasa Borba reported on 9 September. Agoston, however, did not rule out coalition politics in local balloting to be held that same date. In related news, Sandor Pal, in behind closed-door plenary sessions that Nasa Borba reported went "late into the night," lost his post as deputy head of the DZVM. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.

    Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek on 6 September announced his country's candidacy for membership in the UN Security Council. "Membership in the Security Council would give Slovenia a much better chance to gain international recognition," he said. In other news, Reuters on 6 September reported that a section of border tunnel between Slovenia and Austria crashed that day, injuring one Slovene and two Slovaks. -- Stan Markotich

    [13] ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN MILITARY TREATY.

    Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca and his Hungarian counterpart Gyorgy Kelety on 6 September signed in Arad, western Romania, a treaty providing for enhanced mutual trust and security. The treaty, which expands on the measures provided for by the 1994 Vienna OSCE document, stipulates that the two states will notify each other 42 days in advance on troop movements larger than one battalion within a radius of 80 kilometers at their common border, exchange information, and raise the frequency of mutual military inspections while at the same time reducing early notification of intended inspections. They are also to exchange observers at military exercises and conduct two yearly joint maneuvers. The treaty is not limited in time, and Radio Bucharest said it provides a proper background for the signing of the basic treaty on 16 September. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] COURT REJECTS OBJECTIONS TO ILIESCU'S CANDIDACY.

    The Constitutional Court has unanimously rejected objections raised to President Ion Iliescu's candidacy in the presidential elections scheduled for 3 November, Radio Bucharest reported on 8 September. The court said the objections lacked foundation and that its decision was "final." It ruled that the number of mandates, limited by the constitution to two, counted only from the time of the basic document's adoption, and that consequently Iliescu's service as president before 1992 was not to be taken into consideration for this purpose. -- Michael Shafir

    [15] GREATER ROMANIA PARTY "SWALLOWS" ALLY.

    The extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM) on 6 September merged with the small non-parliamentary Romanian Party for a New Society (PRNS). The latter formation had been part of the National Bloc, an alliance with non- parliamentary formations established by the PRM. The PRNS's leader, retired Gen. Victor Voichita, became a vice-chairman of the PRM. In other news, Titus Raveica, a former senator representing the Party of Social Democracy in Romania and later chairman of the Audio-Visual Council, announced his intention to run for parliament on the PRM lists, Curierul national reported on 7 September. Finally, PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor demanded that the U.S. withdraw Ambassador Alfred Moses, whom Tudor accused of interfering in internal Romanian politics for having stated that Romania's post-electoral government should be "centrist." Calling him "an obscure provincial lawyer" and "an old man with dictatorial inclinations," Tudor said Moses displayed "political primitivism." -- Michael Shafir

    [16] CHISINAU-TIRASPOL NEGOTIATIONS TO BE RESUMED?

    Infotag reported on 6 September that the leadership of the breakaway Dniester region will "consider" Moldovan President Mircea Snegur's recent proposal to resume negotiations on drafting a special status for the region. The region's leaders, President Igor Smirnov and Supreme Soviet chairman Grigorii Markutsa, stated their intent to resume negotiations following a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Moldova, Alexander Papkin, and the special representative of the Ukrainian president, Yevhen Levitsky. Levitsky said after the meeting that there was now hope that the process may break out of its present standstill. -- Michael Shafir

    [17] IMPRISONED MOLDOVAN LEA-DER QUITS PARTY.

    Ilie Ilascu, who is imprisoned in the breakaway Dniester region where he has been accused of terrorist actions and condemned to death, has resigned from the Popular Front Christian Democratic Party (FPCD). In a letter addressed to the FPCD leadership and published in Saptamana, Ilascu, who earlier announced his intention to run for president, said he considers the party's decision to back President Mircea Snegur in the 17 November electoral contest "unwise," BASA-press reported on 6 September. Ilascu said he fails to understand why a party that is pro-Romanian unionist should help people who are "generally unfriendly to our national ideals." -- Michael Shafir[18]

    IMF DELAYS LOAN TO BULGARIA.

    The IMF decided to withhold further loan disbursement to Bulgaria until the government speeds up promised economic reforms, RFE/RL and The Wall Street Journal reported on 7 September. IMF officials said Bulgaria is ineligible for the second installment of a $580 million standby loan because it did not get a favorable review during an IMF mission's recent visit. It is unclear when the installment of $116.7 million will be disbursed. The IMF mission said the government failed to implement structural reforms in the banking system and to close down 64 unprofitable state firms as agreed on with the IMF. Only five of those companies were closed down. The Bulgarian government had agreed with the IMF to implement a comprehensive reform package but after announcing it and receiving the first installment of the loan took no further action. -- Stefan Krause

    [19] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS GOVERNMENT.

    In a state TV address on 7 September, Zhelyu Zhelev accused the Socialist government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov of leading Bulgaria to a "catastrophic state " and to economic collapse, Reuters reported. He blamed the Socialists in particular for the ongoing grain crisis and the rapid decline of the standard of living of large parts of the population. Zhelev said that if the situation does not improve, "responsibility will be sought not only through resignations but probably also through the courts." Zhelev accused Videnov of using rhetoric reminiscent of the "darkest years of Stalinism" in order to lay the blame on other people. The government in turn issued a statement the following day accusing Zhelev of delaying reform by vetoing legislation and of being irresponsible. The statement said Zhelev "relies on rude demagogy to force society to work against its own interests." - - Stefan Krause

    [20] BIGGEST BALKAN SYNAGOGUE REOPENS IN SOFIA.

    The Sofia synagogue reopened on 8 September after major renovation, Reuters reported. More than 1,000 Jews from all over the world gathered for the ceremony that was attended by Zhelev and Israeli Knesset Speaker Dan Tihon. The synagogue was first inaugurated in 1909. It was hit by a bomb during World War Two and restoration was forbidden by the Communist regime. The renovation so far cost $370,000, mostly donations by the international Jewish community. Tihon said the synagogue was "a house of Jewish culture...not just a religious center." He noted that tens of thousands of Bulgarian Jews were "saved by the Bulgarian people" from Nazi concentration camps. Around 5,000 Jews still live in Bulgaria, mostly in Sofia. -- Stefan Krause

    [21] ALBANIA REJECTS MACEDONIAN ACCUSATIONS OF INTERFERENCE.

    The Albanian government on 7 September rejected Macedonian accusations that it interfered with Skopje's domestic affairs, international media reported. The Macedonian government over the past week repeatedly accused Tirana of supporting the right of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia to higher education in their mother tongue in an attempt to divert attention from domestic political problems. A statement by the Albanian Foreign Ministry said Albania wanted good relations with Macedonia but added that it would continue to demand those rights because they are "based on international norms and documents." -- Stefan Krause

    Compiled by Victor Gomez and Sharon Fisher
    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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