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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 178, 96-09-13

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 178, 13 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT ON FOREIGN POLICY AND KARABAKH.
  • [02] COUNCIL OF CIS BORDER FORCES MEETS IN TBILISI.
  • [03] STRATEGIC MISSILE FORCE ALMOST OUT OF KAZAKSTAN.
  • [04] OLD TECHNIQUES TO INJECT NEW IDEAS.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] CROATIAN OFFICIAL ON REFUGEE ISSUES.
  • [06] SERBIA ON THE DOMESTIC, MONTENEGRO ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT.
  • [07] POLLING STATIONS OPEN FOR BOSNIA'S MILITARY VOTING.
  • [08] BOSNIA'S NATIONALIST PARTIES END CAMPAIGN WITH GIANT RALLIES.
  • [09] MULTIETHNIC OPPOSITION COALITION SPOKE TO 20,000 PEOPLE IN TUZLA.
  • [10] ROMANIA CALLS EPIDEMIC ALERT.
  • [11] SOME FORMER ROMANIANS MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.
  • [12] COUNCIL OF EUROPE FACT-FINDING MISSION IN CHISINAU.
  • [13] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE, SLAMS SOCIALISTS.
  • [14] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT ON FOREIGN POLICY AND KARABAKH.

    Levon Ter-Petrossyan said that "normalizing" relations with Turkey was his main foreign policy success over the last six years, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. He said ensuring that "Turkey remained neutral in the Karabakh conflict" was a great achievement. Ter-Petrossyan said relations with Russia have not been as good as they are now for 300 years but warned that "one careless step" may spoil them. He also expressed satisfaction that Iran is now Armenia's main economic partner. On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he was optimistic that an "interim solution" that would "satisfy all three parties" can be found. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [02] COUNCIL OF CIS BORDER FORCES MEETS IN TBILISI.

    The commanders of the CIS border guard services gathered in Tbilisi to discuss several agreements aimed at closer cooperation among their forces, including a declaration of demarcation and external border protection principles, Russian and Western agencies reported on 12 September. Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkmenistan did not sign part of the package, including the declaration, and Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan did not attend the meeting at all, NTV reported on 12 September. Special attention was paid to extending the 22 January 1993 CIS agreement "On measures to stabilize the situation on the state border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan" until 1997. Speaking after his meeting with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, Russian Federal Border Service Director Andrei Nikolaev denied that Russian-Georgian relations had worsened and noted that Russia pays for 60% of Georgia's external border patrols. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [03] STRATEGIC MISSILE FORCE ALMOST OUT OF KAZAKSTAN.

    Russia and Kazakstan signed an agreement in Almaty on 10 September on the withdrawal of the Russian strategic missile force from Kazakstan, according to an Interfax report monitored by the BBC. According to the commander in chief of Russia's strategic missile forces, Gen. Igor Sergeyev, 16 missile regiments have been disbanded, while 898 warhead charges, 98 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and more than 18,000 metric tons of missile fuel components have been removed to Russia. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] OLD TECHNIQUES TO INJECT NEW IDEAS.

    A decree published in Pravda Vostoka on 10 September and monitored by the BBC sheds light on President Islam Karimov's efforts to supplant "old totalitarian, dictatorship ideology" with "spiritual reform and enlightenment." The decree itself orders regional administration heads to undergo spiritual ideology tests by the end of the year. It also significantly strengthens the role of the Manaviyat and Marifat (Spirituality and Enlightenment) public center. The latter will work to achieve the basic aim of the country's ideological policy of improving "national thinking and historical freedom" and "awakening the spirit of independence." Along with its subsidiary, the Golden Heritage (Oltin Meros) charity fund, the center will work in conjunction with the Uzbek Culture Ministry, Uzbekturizm, the Kamolot republican youth fund, and Uzbek Television and Radio to "spread spirituality and enlightenment." -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] CROATIAN OFFICIAL ON REFUGEE ISSUES.

    Ivica Vrkic, the head of the Croatian government's office for the UN administered area of Eastern Slavonia was quoted by Hina on 11 September as saying that all citizens had legal and constitutional rights to return to their homes. In what appeared to be a direct observation relating to ethnic Serb refugees from western Slavonia now in Eastern Slavonia, Vrkic said that any mass return of displaced persons and refugees was "not possible" and that the issue had to be resolved "gradually." Vrkic added that "What [is]...needed first is the establishment of an open dialogue, regardless of differences in views, so that we can solve problems of all people affected by war." Vrkic, along with UN officials, visited with local authorities the Serb-held town of Bilje, in eastern Croatia. -- Stan Markotich

    [06] SERBIA ON THE DOMESTIC, MONTENEGRO ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT.

    Strikers at the Kragujevac arms plant continue their job action, Nasa Borba reported on 13 September. The previous day, the daily noted strikers were being joined by their children in this latest round, quoting one participant that "we are [including] our children not because we have anything to fear [or] want them to shield us, but because they should learn how to struggle." Montena-fax reported that Montene-grin President Momir Bula-tovic met with UN Secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali on 11 September. He urged that sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro be fully lifted and that Belgrade move towards integration into international organizations. "It's high time that [rump] Yugoslavia be able to continue its work in international organizations, and particularly the United Nations," said Bulatovic. -- Stan Markotich

    [07] POLLING STATIONS OPEN FOR BOSNIA'S MILITARY VOTING.

    The OSCE ruled that the soldiers in the mainly Muslim Bosnian army, the Bosnian Serb army, and the Bosnian Croat forces, the HVO, will vote on 13 September, a day ahead of the Bosnia's general elections, AFP reported. The decision will keep the armies in their barracks on the day of the voting. The Bosnian Serb army has also protested plans to hand over its command and assets to the Bosnian Serb political leadership, AFP reported the previous day quoteng Tanjug. The Bosnian Serb parliament is due to discuss a defense law that would transfer total control of the army and the armament industry to the civilian authorities. The protests reflect the long standoff between the Bosnian Serb military and political hierarchies, which started with a conflict between Gen. Ratko Mladic and civilian leader Radovan Karadzic in summer 1995. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] BOSNIA'S NATIONALIST PARTIES END CAMPAIGN WITH GIANT RALLIES.

    The ruling Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) held a rally with some 60, 000 supporters in Sarajevo on 12 September, AFP reported. Bosnian President and the SDA President Alija Izetbegovic appealed to the crowd for calm elections, asking voters to avoid any sort of incidents. That same day, Momcilo Krajisnik, a Bosnian Serb candidate for Bosnia's new-style rotating presidency, at the rally in Pale told Serbs to let Muslims who would come over to the Republika Srpska to vote to "do so with dignity," promising that "they will leave as they came," AFP reported. The previous day in Banja Luka, another Bosnian Serb leader, Biljana Plavsic, told a crowd of 20,000 that Bosnian Serbs were chosen by God to fulfill the centuries-long Serb dream of creation of a united Serb state. Plavsic repeated the statement at a Pale rally the next day, neglecting for a second time the OSCE's warning to avoid secessionist rhetoric. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] MULTIETHNIC OPPOSITION COALITION SPOKE TO 20,000 PEOPLE IN TUZLA.

    Joint List, the opposition coalition consisting of five parties --the Socialist Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina (SDP), the Muslim Bosniak Organization (MBO), the Union of Bosnian Social-Democrats (UBSD), the Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS) and the Republican Party (RS)-- held a big rally on 12 September in Tuzla in support of a multiethnic and multicultural Bosnia- Herzegovina, AFP reported. "We have only one homeland and all its nations are part of it," Tatjana Ljuic-Mijatovic, a Serb member of the Bosnian presidency, was quoted as saying. That same day, the two main Serb opposition parties, the left-leaning Alliance for Peace and Progress, led by Zivko Radisic, and the Democratic Patriotic Bloc, led by former Banja Luka mayor Predrag Radic, announced they will form a coalition after elections in the Republika Srpska. - - Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] ROMANIA CALLS EPIDEMIC ALERT.

    Health Minister Daniela Bartos declared an epidemic alert on 12 September after the death toll from viral meningitis reached 24 with 417 people infected, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. She admitted that the authorities have been "unable yet to say what kind of virus caused the disease," and added that samples were sent for analysis to the Paris-based Pasteur Institute. Meanwhile, the political row over the epidemic has continued. Bucharest's Prefect Grigore Simion, a member of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, expressed "surprise" over the announcement by mayor Victor Ciorbea from the opposition Democratic Convention postponing the start of the school year. Such a decision, Simion added, can only be taken in conjunction with the health and education ministries. -- Dan Ionescu

    [11] SOME FORMER ROMANIANS MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

    The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently instructed consulates abroad to issue visas to former Romanian citizens without a fee. OMRI has, however, learned from first-hand sources that the tax-free visa is obtainable only when the applicant produces proof that his parents had held Romanian citizenship and were of "ethnic Romanian origin." In other words, the fee exemption does not apply to Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and people of other nationalities, even if they meet all other requirements. -- Michael Shafir

    [12] COUNCIL OF EUROPE FACT-FINDING MISSION IN CHISINAU.

    A group of rapporteurs for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CE) started a visit in the Republic of Moldova on 12 September, Infotag reported. The delegation, headed by Lord Finsberg, was received by Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi, one of the candidates in the presidential election scheduled for 14 November. Lucinschi assured his guests that the parliament would remain a factor of stability during the rather stormy presidential run-up. The CE delegation will report on the way Moldova complies with the commitment taken upon its admission to the Council in June 1995. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] BULGARIAN OPPOSITION CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE, SLAMS SOCIALISTS.

    Asserting that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was polarizing society ahead of the presidential elections, Union of Democratic Forces Chairman (SDS) Ivan Kostov on 11 September announced that the SDS will ask for a no-confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov after the elections, Pari reported. Kostov said that by instigating mistrust and inspiring nostalgia toward communist times, the Socialists want to politically polarize the elections. He said hardline BSP voters would not accept a defeat of the Socialist candidate, Culture Minister Ivan Marazov, and that they would be ready to provoke unrest and turmoil. Kostov said the SDS will not ask for a no-confidence vote before the elections because it would consolidate the BSP. But he announced that a vote of no-confidence in the entire government policy will be called immediately following the elections. -- Stefan Krause

    [14] BULGARIAN UPDATE.

    Bulgaria, anticipating problems with energy supply throughout the upcoming winter, is planning to import by air nuclear fuel from Russia for the country's Soviet-made Kozloduy power plant, Reuters reported on 12 September. One Bulgarian official, declining to be named, remarked "We are in the process of negotiating consignments of nuclear fuel by land from Russia with Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania as we need their agreement." In other news, the US-based Human Rights Watch has criticized Bulgarian authorities for their treatment of street children. According to the report, police employ intimidation, harsh physical violence, and arbitrary arrest against the children, who are also, if deemed incorrigible, punished by being sent to workhouses. -- Stan Markotich

    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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