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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 177, 96-09-12

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 177, 12 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] GULIEV RESIGNS FOR "HEALTH REASONS."
  • [02] KAZAKSTAN ROUNDUP.
  • [03] HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE IN TASHKENT.
  • [04] UNESCO PLEDGES HELP FOR TURKMENISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER CONFRONTS SERB UNITY...
  • [06] ...BUT IS THE SERBIAN PRESIDENT FINESSING THE ISSUE?
  • [07] OPINION POLLS AHEAD OF BOSNIA'S ELECTIONS.
  • [08] INTER-ENTITY VOTER ROUTES AGREED.
  • [09] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTER TURNOUT 75 PERCENT SO FAR.
  • [10] KOSOVAR SHADOW STATE PREMIER ON SCHOOL AGREEMENT WITH SERBS.
  • [11] MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC STIRS CONTROVERSY IN BUCHAREST.
  • [12] CONFERENCE ON MINORITIES ENDS IN BUCHAREST.
  • [13] DNIESTER LEADER REPLIES TO SNEGUR'S MESSAGE.
  • [14] BULGARIA DENIES HOSTING SOVIET NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
  • [15] UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] GULIEV RESIGNS FOR "HEALTH REASONS."

    Azerbaijani parliament chairman Rasul Guliev resigned from office on 11 September, Russian and Western media reported the same day. His resignation had been expected to be the locus of a stormy extraordinary session of the parliament, the Milli Mejlis, but the matter was wrapped up in 15 minutes when Guliev asked to resign due to ill health, ITAR-TASS reported. Parliament accepted his resignation in a vote of 98-8, with four abstentions. During his speech, Guliev pledged his full support to Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, who was in attendance. It has been rumored that Guliev is to serve as Azerbaijan's ambassador to Norway. A Norwegian company, Statoil, is part of the international consortium involved in exploiting three oil fields off Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [02] KAZAKSTAN ROUNDUP.

    Almaty's city authorities on 9 September refused to allow the Center of Russian Culture of Almaty to stage a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy, RFE/RL reported. The demonstrators intended to protest the recent U.S. airstrikes on Iraq. In other news, Rakhmankul Berdibay has been elected president of the recently founded Baba Turkti Shashti Aziz Foundation, RFE/RL reported on 12 September. Baba Turkti Shashti, whose mausoleum is in Chimkent along with a foundation of the same name, is revered as the common ancestor of the Karakalpak, Nogay, Tatar, Kazak, Kyrgyz, and Bashkort peoples. Meanwhile, a training school for sergeants, manned by instructors from the U.S. and Turkey, is to open in Kazakstan, the Turkish Daily News reported on 12 September. The 100-student school is to form the backbone of the Kazakstani army's non-commissioned officer corps. -- Lowell Bezanis and Merhat Sharipzhan

    [03] HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE IN TASHKENT.

    A three-day OSCE-sponsored conference on human rights--bringing together non- governmental organizations operating in Central Asia, government officials, and government-selected media representatives--opened in Tashkent on 11 September, Western agencies reported. Human rights are far from respected in Central Asia with print and broadcast media carefully censored or directly controlled by the government and minimal tolerance shown for political opposition. Among a litany of other human rights violations, AFP noted that 40 journalists have been killed in Tajikistan since 1992, some 30 prisoners of conscience are presently in Uzbek jails, and 600 prisoners died in Kazakstani jails of tuberculosis last year and another 101 were executed. The venue of the conference is considered a further signal of Uzbekistan's desire to soften the regime's image abroad. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] UNESCO PLEDGES HELP FOR TURKMENISTAN.

    Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov and UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor signed a memorandum of cooperation in Paris on 11 September, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. According to the agency, UNESCO is to help Turkmenistan reform its education system, train journalists, create a management information network, support national radio programming, establish various cultural programs aimed at the protection of historical sites, and analyze the environmental problems of the Caspian Sea. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER CONFRONTS SERB UNITY...

    Republika Srpska's (RS) acting President and the Serbian Democratic Party's (SDS) candidate for RS president Biljana Plavsic has again spoken out on the question of a Greater Serbia. Plavsic, in remarks reported by Nasa Borba on 12 September, observed that there is "no peace without the unity of all Serb lands." Plavsic also went on record as saying that the RS "has only that sovereignty which is afforded it by the Dayton peace, and for now we are happy with that." Nevertheless, she said "there won't always be this kind of anti- Serb climate in the world," implying that her commitment to partitioning Bosnia remains solid. -- Stan Markotich

    [06] ...BUT IS THE SERBIAN PRESIDENT FINESSING THE ISSUE?

    But there is open speculation that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is influencing parties under his control in the Republika Srpska to address, or specifically to evade, the issue of the Bosnian Serb entity's status. On 12 September Nasa Borba reported that Milosevic recently held a closed-door meeting with officials from the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS), including its chairman, Zivko Radisic, who subsequently dropped his candidacy for the RS presidency. Radisic maintains he was not forced to withdraw his candidacy, but only that Milosevic asked him to mute any rhetoric dealing with "the issue of unity with Serbia because they [Milosevic's governing Socialist Party of Serbia] are under great international pressure to recognize Bosnia and Herzegovina." The limelight and the politicking of dealing with the RS's status, noted Nasa Borba, was the "hot chestnut [Milosevic] tossed into Plavsic's hands." -- Stan Markotich

    [07] OPINION POLLS AHEAD OF BOSNIA'S ELECTIONS.

    A survey in September of 517 voters in the Bosnian federation conducted by the Sarajevo magazine Dani and the U.S. Information Agency indicated that 54.8% would vote for the ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA), 17.2% or the opposition parties' coalition Joint List, 12.3% for former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic's Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1.3% for the Liberal Party, and 0.1% for the Women's Party, Onasa reported. It also revealed that in the Bosnian presidential elections 63.2% would vote for incumbent President Alija Izetbegovic, 23.1% for Silajdzic, and 5.8% for Social-Democratic Party candidate Sead Avdic. A poll of 1,000 Bosnian Serbs in the Republika Srpska conducted by the Bijeljina Extra Magazine indicated that 37.4% would vote for the ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), 16.8% for the opposition coalition Alliance for Peace and Progress (SMP), and 16.4% for the opposition Democratic Patriotic Bloc (DPB). In the presidential race, 30.1% would vote for DPB's president Predrag Radic, and 29.4% for Biljana Plavsic from the SDS, Nasa Borba reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] INTER-ENTITY VOTER ROUTES AGREED.

    Interior ministers of the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska on 10 September agreed on 19 routes across the entity line that voters could take to cast ballots in Bosnia's general elections on 14 September, Onasa reported. Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Dragan Kijac predicted that about 350,000 people would cross inter-entity borders that day. People will be able to cross the borders only in approved vehicles. The three officials in a joint statement assumed joint responsibility for ensuring maximum police presence along the agreed routes "to provide for the safety of all citizens." According to the agreement, voters have to return to their entities immediately after casting their ballots, and rallies and demonstrations are forbidden on election day. The mass movement of people will be closely watched by IFOR forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTER TURNOUT 75 PERCENT SO FAR.

    The OSCE said that three-quarters of the nearly half million Bosnian refugees registered to vote abroad have already cast their ballots for Bosnia's elections, AFP reported on 10 September. The figure of 75% is provisional, because voting slips are still arriving, and the final tally would be known only the day after the vote in Bosnia itself. Of 58 countries that accepted Bosnian refugees, Austria has the highest voter turnout with 86%, followed by Germany with 83%, and Serbia-Montenegro with 73%. Some 140,000 other Bosnians living abroad have registered to vote in person on 14 September in Bosnia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] KOSOVAR SHADOW STATE PREMIER ON SCHOOL AGREEMENT WITH SERBS.

    Bujar Bukoshi voiced careful optimism about the latest agreement between Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic allowing Albanian children to return to school (see ), Illyria reported on 10 September. He said it would be a "significant moment in our political movement" if Albanian children returned to school. But Bukoshi also warned against "uncontrolled euphoria," noting that Belgrade had signed and then broken agreements before. He predicted Belgrade will put forward "substantial problems and obstruction" when it comes to implementing the agreement and noted that the agreement contained many "ambiguities leaving room for different interpretations." Bukoshi charged that Kosovo's Albanians gained nothing from the agreement while Milosevic manipulated all the parties involved to score points both at home and abroad. -- Stefan Krause

    [11] MENINGITIS EPIDEMIC STIRS CONTROVERSY IN BUCHAREST.

    Bucharest's mayor Victor Ciorbea on 11 September announced that the start of the new school year would be delayed from 16 September until 1 October because of a meningitis epidemic that has swept through Romania since early August, Radio Bucharest reported. But Romanian Education Minister Liviu Maior said on the same day that mayors do not have the competence to interfere in the functioning of the educational system. The controversy appears to be of political nature, since Ciorbea is a member of the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania. Meanwhile, the epidemic of meningitis and meningo- encephalitis continues to spread. According to the latest data released by the Health Ministry, 414 cases have been registered until 11 September, of which 50 are children. The epidemic has resulted in 21 deaths so far. -- Dan Ionescu

    [12] CONFERENCE ON MINORITIES ENDS IN BUCHAREST.

    The third international meeting of government offices for ethnic minorities questions ended in Bucharest on 11 September, Radio Bucharest reported. The two-day conference, sponsored by the Council of Europe (CE) and the Executive Commission of the European Union, was attended by delegations from 17 former communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe. This year's seminar, presided over by CE Deputy Secretary-General Peter Leuprecht and Viorel Hrebenciuc, Coordinator of the Romanian government's Council for National Minorities, focused on the implementation of the CE Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, as well as on cooperation among governmental offices dealing with minorities. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] DNIESTER LEADER REPLIES TO SNEGUR'S MESSAGE.

    In a letter addressed to Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, the president of the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic, Igor Smirnov, suggested that they resume talks only after the signing of a memorandum on the normalization of relations between the two sides, Infotag reported on 11 September. Smirnov repeated earlier accusations that the present deadlock in negotiations was caused by Moldova's reluctance to sign the memorandum. His letter came in reply to a 3 September message from Snegur, urging the Dniester leadership to resume talks on the region's future legal status within the Republic of Moldova, as well as regular summit meetings. Infotag also reported that Moldovan and Dniester experts will meet in Tiraspol on 16 September to continue drafting the status, after a break of more than two months. -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] BULGARIA DENIES HOSTING SOVIET NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    The Defense Ministry on 11 September dismissed as "pure insinuation" a report in Moscow's Komsomolskaya Pravda that Soviet nuclear missiles were stationed in Bulgaria in the 1980s, Bulgarian and international media reported. The Russian daily cited a former Soviet Army captain's assertion that he served in a "super-secret base" near the resort of Borovets, 60 kilometers from Sofia, which he claims contained 70 nu-clear warheads. President Zhelyu Zhelev and Chief of General Staff Tsvetan Totomirov in a joint statement denied the report and suggested someone might want to cause friction between Bulgaria and its neighbors Greece and Turkey, which are named as possible targets in the Russian publication. Former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov also dismissed the report, while then-Defense Minister Dobri Dzhu-rov did not comment. Komso- molskaya Pravda said former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitrii Yazov confirmed the existence of the base. -- Maria Koinova and Stefan Krause

    [15] UPDATE ON BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS.

    Agriculture Minister Krastyo Trendafilov and Trade Minister Atanas Paparizov on 11 September informed the BSP Executive Bureau about efforts to ensure sufficient grain supplies, Pari reported. Trendafilov said that currently 130, 000 tons of grain are being imported and a further 680,000 tons were purchased domestically. He assumed responsibility for ensuring the bread supply of Sofia and some mountainous regions. He said that other regions should take care of their problems by themselves, claiming that there are large amounts of grain in private bakeries and households. He said Bulgaria wants to import more grain, but needs credits because the government does not want to strain further the balance of payments. Paparizov called the grain problem short-term and financial. The grain and bread shortage that started at the beginning of 1996 has so far caused the resignations of two agriculture ministers. -- 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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