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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 176, 96-09-11

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 176, 11 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] EMERGENCY SESSION OF AZER-BAIJANI PARLIAMENT.
  • [02] GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ NEGOTIATIONS.
  • [03] GEORGIAN-UZBEK MILITARY COOPERATION.
  • [04] CORRECTION:

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] CROATIA'S NEW AMNESTY LAW.
  • [06] SERBIAN ULTRANATIONALIST ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
  • [07] SERBIA-MONTENEGRO UPDATE.
  • [08] OSCE PENALIZES PARTIES VIOLATING ELECTORAL RULES.
  • [09] CROAT AND MUSLIM CAMPAIGNS CONTINUE.
  • [10] EXPERTS FIND BONES AT MASS GRAVE LINKED TO SREBRENICA MASSACRE.
  • [11] ROMANIA VOTES TO KEEP HOMOSEXUALITY A CRIME.
  • [12] ROMANIAN WONDER-HEALER TO CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENCY.
  • [13] TIRASPOL GARRISON COMMANDANT ON MOLDOVAN ELECTIONS.
  • [14] COMPROMISE ON BULGARIAN COAT OF ARMS IMMINENT?
  • [15] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO HEAD NEW LIBERAL FORMATION.
  • [16] ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR WANTS JAIL TERMS FOR COMMUNISTS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] EMERGENCY SESSION OF AZER-BAIJANI PARLIAMENT.

    The Azer-baijani parliament, the Milli Mejlis, is expected to open an extraordinary session on 11 September amid increasing speculation that parliament chairman Rasul Guliev is set to resign, according to international media. RFE/RL reported on 10 September that troop movements were being conducted in the capital, Baku. President Heidar Aliev's New Azerbaijan Party issued a statement accusing Guliev of placing his "ambitions above national interests and attempting to keep the economy under the control of a small group of people." The media has been predicting the resignation of Guliev, who is closely associated with the oil industry, for some time. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [02] GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ NEGOTIATIONS.

    The Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations that resumed in Moscow on 9 September will focus on the return of refugees, a lifting of the economic blockade of Abkhazia, and the region's political status within Georgia, Krasnaya zvezda reported on 11 September. Pravda-5 quoted Georgian President Eduard Shevar- dnadze on 7 September as saying that if Georgian refugees are not allowed to return to the Gali region of Abkhazia before the end of 1996, he will insist on the immediate withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force from the area. In Ajaria, the Central Electoral Commission, citing a Soviet-era law, has decided to prohibit international observers from monitoring the Ajarian parliamentary election scheduled for the end of September, BGI reported on 10 September. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [03] GEORGIAN-UZBEK MILITARY COOPERATION.

    Georgian Defense Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze and his Uzbek counterpart, Rustam Akhme-dov, signed a package of bilateral military agreements in Tbilisi on 10 September, Georgian and Russian media reported the same day. The package includes an interstate treaty on military cooperation, an intergovernmental agreement on military and technical cooperation, another on cooperation between the two countries' Defense ministries, and a protocol on providing airfield and technical support and protection for aircraft from their respective airforces, according to a 10 September Iprinda report monitored by the BBC. The same day Akhmedov said the Uzbek government opposes the creation of a coalition of CIS armed forces, ITAR-TASS reported. Akhmedov suggested that such a grouping could lead to another Cold War. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] CORRECTION:

    A sentence in an item on Azerbaijan in the 10 September edition of OMRI Daily Digest (Vol. 2, no. 175), should have read: "Dilenji, who said Azerbaijani officials have assured him that he would not be extradited to Iran, may have to choose between leaving Azerbaijan and halting his activities."

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] CROATIA'S NEW AMNESTY LAW.

    Jacques Klein, the head of the UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, has said that a new amnesty bill will be discussed in Croatia's parliament, Croatian Radio reported on 10 September. According to Reuters, Croatia drafted the law on amnesty for Serbs living in eastern Slavonia at least partly in response to mounting international pressure demanding that the rebel minority Serbs fighting against Croatia in 1991 be pardoned. Few details of the legislation have yet been made public. Reuters also observed that "last month" the UN urged Croatia to adopt a "comprehensive amnesty law" covering all Serbs serving under civil or military in rebel-Serb held parts of Croatia, but excluding war criminals. -- Stan Markotich

    [06] SERBIAN ULTRANATIONALIST ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

    Accused war criminal and paramilitary leader of the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ), Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, spoke at a 10 September rally for SSJ presidential candidate for the Bosnian Serb entity, Ljilja Peric-Tina, and blatantly revived calls for Serbian state expansion. Despite the fact that calls for secession are in contravention of the Dayton accord, Arkan told his 3,000 followers "Don't forget one thing, your capital and that of all Serbs is Bel-grade...Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska - that is one state." Meanwhile, Serbian President Slobo-dan Milosevic, who has not expressly rejected the idea of a greater Serbia, has kept largely silent in response to the ultranationalist rhetoric, AFP reported. But on 4 September Beta reported that the OSCE provided Arkan's party with 300,000 marks (about $222,000) in campaign funds. -- Stan Markotich

    [07] SERBIA-MONTENEGRO UPDATE.

    Job action at the Zastava arms production facility in Kragujevac continues, Nasa Borba reported on 11 September, although the hunger strike was abandoned on 6 September. On that date, the same daily reported the exacting toll the hunger strike was taking on participants under the headline "Hunger Strikers Collapsing of Exhaustion." In other news, Nasa Borba also reported that Montenegrin President Momir Bula-tovic had begun a working visit to the US. The daily said Bulatovic raised the issue of the status and future of the strategic Prevlaka peninsula, saying that it would be resolved "the peaceful way." Prevlaka belongs to Croatia, but controls access to Belgrade's only naval base. -- Stan Markotich

    [08] OSCE PENALIZES PARTIES VIOLATING ELECTORAL RULES.

    Bosnian Serb ultra-nationalist Serb Democratic Party (SDS) was fined $50,000 after two of its top leaders called for secession from Bosnia over the weekend (see ), AFP reported on 11 September. The OSCE had warned that any candidates calling for secession would be barred from the 14 September vote, but the warning came too late. The SDS was also forced to ban displaying posters of its former head, indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. The party controlled television station and paper published on 10 September a statement on the ban for the first time "without any disclaimer or slogan attached to it," AFP quoted OSCE spokeswoman Agota Kuperman as saying. Meanwhile, the OSCE also fined the ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) $15,000 for painting its logo on the roads within the country. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] CROAT AND MUSLIM CAMPAIGNS CONTINUE.

    Federation president Kresimir Zubak called on Bosnian Croats to express support for the Muslim-Croat federation and to return to formerly multi-ethnic towns where they could continue their life "as equal partners with Muslims," AFP reported on 11 September. Meanwhile, in Mostar, where some 50 Serbs and Muslims have been expelled from the Croat-held part of town since the beginning of the year, five families returned to their homes under Croatian police guard. In the Croat-held town of Stolac, a pilot project, blocked for two months, aimed at returning 100 Muslim families started this week. While Croats became softer in their campaigning, Muslims became tougher. Bosnian President and SDA leader Alija Izetbegovic at a 10 September rally in Tuzla said his party is the only one to protect Muslim interests, and there was a such thing as "enlightened nationalism." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] EXPERTS FIND BONES AT MASS GRAVE LINKED TO SREBRENICA MASSACRE.

    International experts on 10 September uncovered bones at a mass grave in Pilica, eastern Bosnia, believed to contain the bodies of hundreds of Muslims allegedly massacred by Serb forces in Srebrenica last summer, AFP reported. The Pilica site was discovered from information given to the UN International Criminal Tribunal by Drazen Erdemovic, a Croat who served in the Bosnian Serb army. Meanwhile, in The Hague, prosecution witnesses have failed to prove case against Dusko Tadic, a Bosnian Serb accused of killing 13 Muslims and torturing 18 others in the camps of Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje, northwest Bosnia. The defense is calling for Tadic's immediate acquittal, and the court is expected to rule on it by 13 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] ROMANIA VOTES TO KEEP HOMOSEXUALITY A CRIME.

    The Chamber of Deputies on 10 September overwhelmingly voted to keep homosexuality a crime, Radio Bucharest and Western agencies reported. The controversial Article 200 of the Penal Code, adopted by a vote of 174-39, provides for jail terms of up to three years for homosexual relations, with a five-year penalty if such relations took place in public. Deputies from the opposition National Peasant Party -- Christian Democratic also voted for maintaining the ban, originally imposed by executed Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. The vote toughened draft legislation adopted by the Senate in March, but which was not passed by the Chamber and which made homosexuality a crime only if it "causes public scandal." Romania's new justice minister Ion Predescu authored the version passed by the Chamber of Deputies which the Senate has not yet approved. It goes against the urging of the Council of Europe that Romania should decriminalize homosexuality. -- Dan Ionescu

    [12] ROMANIAN WONDER-HEALER TO CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENCY.

    Constantin Mudava on 10 September was the fifth person to formally register as a candidate in the presidential race on 3 November, Radio Bucharest reported. He collected 128,000 signatures in support of his candidacy. In a short statement, Mudava promised "to heal the people and the country from both the medical and the economic point of view." -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] TIRASPOL GARRISON COMMANDANT ON MOLDOVAN ELECTIONS.

    Col. Mikhail Bergman, the recently reinstated commandant of the Russian troops garrison in Tiraspol, described the ban on the Dniester inhabitants' participation in the 17 November Moldovan presidential election as a "gross human rights violation," Infotag reported on 10 September. Bergman, a close associate of Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed, strongly criticized the "separatist admini-stration's decision not to allow the functioning of polling stations in the region." According to him, the main culprit was Dniester Security Minister Vadim Shevtsov, whom he called "a criminal" who seeks to destabilize the situation in the region for fear that peace would mean his being delivered to justice for "numerous crimes in both the Dniester region and earlier in Riga." -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] COMPROMISE ON BULGARIAN COAT OF ARMS IMMINENT?

    The parliamentary faction of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on 10 September proposed to the opposition that the constitutional provision on the coat of arms be changed, Duma and Kontinent reported. The recently adopted coat of arms depicting a rampant lion without a crown was vetoed by President Zhelyu Zhelev. The parliament must vote on his veto by 17 September. Opposition demands that the lion be crowned meet are strongly resisted by parts of the BSP. The constitution is unclear on the question. The BSP faction will propose delaying the vote on the veto -- originally scheduled for today -- and start talks about a constitutional amendment, hoping to reach a compromise by the end of the week. BSP presidential candidate, Culture Minister Ivan Marazov, in a state TV address said he favors a crowned lion. -- Stefan Krause

    [15] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT TO HEAD NEW LIBERAL FORMATION.

    A "Liberal-Democratic Union" led by Zhelyu Zhelev will be formed by the end of September, 24 chasa reported on 11 September. This was announced after a meeting on 10 September between Zhelev and the leaders of the New Choice party, New Democracy party, and the Radical-Democratic Party Outside the Union of Democratic Forces. The new group will support a presidential republic or at least a strong presidential administration as well as powerful municipal administrations. Zhelev said the new formation will most likely support the united opposition candidates, Petar Stoyanov and Todor Kavaldzhiev, in the upcoming presidential elections. He said that none of the three parties will support the candidacy of former caretaker Prime Minister Reneta Indzhova. -- Maria Koinova and Stefan Krause

    [16] ALBANIAN PROSECUTOR WANTS JAIL TERMS FOR COMMUNISTS.

    The prosecution on 10 September demanded that four Albanians charged with trying to found a communist party and conspiring to overthrow the government (see ) be sentenced to prison terms between one and three years, Reuters reported. Prosecutor Kadri Skeraj asked for three-year terms for Timoshenko Pekmezi and Sami Meta and for one-year sentences for Tare Isufi and Kristaq Mosko. He said that "they should be sentenced not for their communist convictions and ideas but for propagating them -- something which is anti- constitutional." The defendants previously denied that they supported violence or anti-constitutional methods. The parliament outlawed all communist organizations in July 1992. -- Stefan Krause Compiled by Victor Gomez and Saulius Girnius 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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