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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 179, 96-09-16

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 179, 16 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] DATE SET FOR PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN SOUTH OSSETIA.
  • [02] DUMA COMMITTEE ON SIDOROVA CASE.
  • [03] THREAT OF FAMINE IN KAZAKSTAN?
  • [04] SACKINGS FOR CORRUPTION IN KYRGYZSTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS END.
  • [06] THE BOSNIAN VOTE: A TURNAROUND OR A CONTINUATION?
  • [07] KARADZIC VOTES IN PALE.
  • [08] PLAVSIC APOLOGIZES FOR SECESSIONIST RHETORIC.
  • [09] CROATIA PROTESTS HAGUE TRIBUNAL'S ALLEGATIONS.
  • [10] WAR WOUNDED PROTEST CROATIAN STATE SOCIAL POLICY.
  • [11] RUMP YUGOSLAV OFFICIALS ON SANCTIONS LIFTING.
  • [12] MONTENEGRIN TRADE MISSION IN U.S.
  • [13] MORE CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA OVER TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
  • [14] MENINGITIS POSTPONES SCHOOL YEAR IN ROMANIA.
  • [15] DISPUTE CONTINUES OVER ALBANIAN ELECTIONS . . .
  • [16] . . . AND WHO WILL MONITOR THEM.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] DATE SET FOR PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN SOUTH OSSETIA.

    The South Ossetian parliament on 13 September decided to hold a presidential election on 10 November, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Georgian government earlier stated its opposition to a presidency being established in South Ossetia, and Russian presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais also expressed concern over South Ossetia's decision. -- Elin Suleymanov

    [02] DUMA COMMITTEE ON SIDOROVA CASE.

    The Russian State Duma's Council of Compatriots issued a statement on the continued detention of Nina Sidorova, president of the Russian Center in Kazakstan, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 September. The statement claimed she was detained without due cause and has been battered in prison. It also charged the Kazak authorities with willful and intentional harassment of the leaders of Kazakstan's Russian communities, and called on Moscow to link loans to Kazakstan and the writing off of its debts to Almaty's human rights record. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [03] THREAT OF FAMINE IN KAZAKSTAN?

    Leonid Solomin, head of the confederation of independent trade unions in Kazakstan, said more than 400,000 residents of industrial towns are facing famine, AFP reported on 13 September. Solomin, like some Kazak papers recently, pointed to early signs of famine such as the consumption of animal feed and even fertilizer by desperate people. He identified those most stricken with hunger as residents of Karaganda in northern Kazakstan, and the towns of Janatas, Kentau and Tekeli in the country's south. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] SACKINGS FOR CORRUPTION IN KYRGYZSTAN.

    President Askar Akaev dismissed the head of the state customs inspectorate and the governors of Naryn and Issyk-Kul provinces on 12 September, Reuters reported the next day. The three were sacked for what was termed "serious violations of financial discipline." At the same time, Akaev dismissed the heads of three regional administrations and severely reprimanded First Deputy Prime Minister Abdyjapar Tagaev and Deputy Prime Minister Bekbolat Talgarbekov. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS END.

    Voting took place across Bosnia-Herzegovina on 14 September for six categories of offices, international media reported the next day. OSCE monitors called the election one of the most complicated in history but also described the vote in glowing terms as a virtually flawless success. Estimates of the turnout ranged from 65% to 80% of the electorate. The BBC pointed out that despite stringent security measures taken by IFOR and the UN police, only about 15% of the refugee voters made use of bus transportation to cross the former front lines and vote in their old homes. Preliminary results are expected on 16 September, with more complete tallies due later. Parties have already begun exchanging charges of vote-rigging. In particular, the Muslim Party of Democratic Action and the Serbian opposition Alliance for Peace and Progress have slammed the behavior of the Serbian Democratic Party. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] THE BOSNIAN VOTE: A TURNAROUND OR A CONTINUATION?

    OMRI special correspondents in Sarajevo witnessed numerous irregularities or provocations, such as incomplete voting lists, voters being given pencils instead of pens to mark their ballots, refugees not being provided with bus transportation, and refugee polling places being set up not in normal buildings but in a mine. The correspondents gained the impression that the international community is determined to call the vote a success and will ignore any irregularities. Analysts suggest that the three nationalist parties- -which control the bulk of the media and other resources, including the local police--will take the most votes among Muslims, Serbs, and Croats, respectively. If so, the vote is unlikely to mark Bosnia's return to being a single multi-ethnic state but will instead be one more step toward ethnic partition. -- Jan Urban and Yvonne Badal in Sarajevo, and Patrick Moore

    [07] KARADZIC VOTES IN PALE.

    Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic voted in the Bosnian elections in a polling station outside Pale on 14 September, AFP reported. His voting has embarrassed the UN and IFOR, whose commander Adm. Joseph Lopez said he did not know of any reports that any IFOR soldiers had seen Karadzic. Lt. Gen. Michael Walker, the commander of the NATO ground troops, said the IFOR mandate is not to seek out war criminals. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] PLAVSIC APOLOGIZES FOR SECESSIONIST RHETORIC.

    The OSCE on 13 September ordered acting Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic to apologize on Serbian television for making repeated calls for the breakup of Bosnia in violation of the OSCE ban on such comments, Onasa reported. Plavsic, a hardline nationalist, read the apology three times that day. But Momcilo Krajisnik, Bosnian Serb candidate for Bosnia's rotating presidency, said the following day that Plavsic's statement was given under pressure and "we will quickly forget it and move forward." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] CROATIA PROTESTS HAGUE TRIBUNAL'S ALLEGATIONS.

    Croatia protested on 14 September against allegations by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that regular Croatian troops were directly involved in fighting in Bosnia during the Muslim-Croat war in 1993, local and international agencies reported. Foreign Minister Mate Granic warned in his letter to ICTY Chairman Antonio Cassese that allegations of Croatia's direct involvement in the Bosnia's conflict are untrue and could have far-reaching consequences for the peace process, Vjesnik reported the next day. The ICTY on 13 September confirmed its indictment of Ivica Rajic, a former Bosnian Croat general who later became a general in the Croatian Army, and issued an international warrant for his arrest. The tribunal warned that it would report Croatia to the UN Security Council if Croatia failed to hand Rajic over to The Hague. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] WAR WOUNDED PROTEST CROATIAN STATE SOCIAL POLICY.

    Some 4,000 veterans wounded in Croatia's 1991 war demonstrated peacefully on 14 September against the government's policy toward them, international and local media reported. Of 120,000 soldiers demobilized in 1995, 18,000 are now invalids, and they demand higher wages, better social care, and decent housing, as well as jobs for those able to work. Originally, the rally was designed to highlight the veterans' complaints about being abandoned by the government. But the protest rally was attended by high government officials, including President Franjo Tudjman himself, while state-run radio informed veterans throughout the country that attendance at the rally was limited. Thus, it appeared that the demonstration against the government was organized by the government itself, Novi List reported on 16 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] RUMP YUGOSLAV OFFICIALS ON SANCTIONS LIFTING.

    Federal Trade Minister Djordje Siradovic said on 13 September that the last layer of international sanctions against rump Yugoslavia should be lifted 10 days after the 14 September Bosnian elections, Reuters reported. Siradovic said Belgrade "considers that to be absolutely the moment for the definite removal of sanctions, since it has done everything in its power to implement the Dayton and Paris accords." But Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, speaking on a visit to the United States, said that sanctions against trade and travel should be lifted by 24 September but added that "the important changes will come only when [Belgrade's] membership in the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund are reactivated," Nasa Borba reported on 16 September. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] MONTENEGRIN TRADE MISSION IN U.S.

    Bulatovic on 12 September presided over the opening of a Montenegrin trade mission in the U.S. with offices in Washington, Montena-fax reported the next day. The Montenegrin president said the opening of the office was of vital importance for the rump Yugoslav republic and would serve in part to "rectify the negative image Montenegro has [in the West]." Bulatovic also said: "This is the first time in history that Montenegro is opening a trade mission in the desire both to contribute to relations between America and [rump] Yugoslavia and to pursue its [Montenegro's] own separate interests." -- Stan Markotich

    [13] MORE CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA OVER TREATY WITH HUNGARY.

    The signing of a Romanian-Hungarian basic treaty, scheduled for 16 September, has continued to stir controversy in Romania. The nationalistic Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) called upon the participants in a ceremony to honor Avram Iancu, a 19th-century hero of the anti-Hungarian resistance in Transylvania, to give President Ion Iliescu and senior government officials "the reception they deserve for having negotiated the treaty." The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania accused the PUNR of "inciting violence against the president, the prime minister, and the foreign minister." In another development, Adrian Paunescu, deputy chairman of the leftist Socialist Labor Party and a presidential candidate, called Iliescu "Hungary's new foreign minister." -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] MENINGITIS POSTPONES SCHOOL YEAR IN ROMANIA.

    The Education Ministry on 13 September announced that the beginning of the school year would be delayed in Bucharest and in five counties because of an epidemic of viral meningitis, Radio Bucharest reported. The authorities initially played down the threat and criticized a decision by Bucharest Mayor Victor Ciorbea, a member of the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), to postpone the new school year because of the appalling hygiene conditions in many schools. According to the latest data, almost 450 cases of viral meningitis were registered since the beginning of August; 30 were fatal. Meanwhile, the political row over the epidemic continues. The ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania accused the CDR of having exaggerated the outbreak's magnitude in order to create panic and force the postponement of the presidential and general elections, scheduled for 3 November. -- Dan Ionescu

    [15] DISPUTE CONTINUES OVER ALBANIAN ELECTIONS . . .

    Albanian President Sali Berisha on 13 September rejected a call by seven opposition parties to postpone 20 October's local elections, saying it was unconstitutional, Reuters reported. The dispute comes after a 4 September agreement between the opposition and the Social Democrats on changes in the electoral law and other laws and procedures. Social Democratic leader Gaqo Apostoli, however, expressed doubts whether the agreement would work out and said the elections should be postponed "until democratic standards are guaranteed." He also criticized a new law providing that members of local electoral commissions who boycott the polls can be sentenced to up to three years in jail. The Albanian branch of the U.S. Republican Institute, however, welcomed the recent "progress on electoral reform," Rilindja Demokratike reported on 15 September. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [16] . . . AND WHO WILL MONITOR THEM.

    The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which gave a strongly critical report after the 26 May parliamentary elections, will not monitor Albania's local elections, an ODIHR official told OMRI on 16 September. Instead the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly will send a monitoring mission. Poli i Qendres on 16 September alleged that Berisha told ODIHR head Audrey Glover during a recent visit that the organization was not invited to monitor the ballot. The ODIHR did not confirm the report, indicating that monitoring local elections was not its priority. The EU Parliamentary Assembly issued a much weaker and less detailed report after the ballot, and most of the international criticism of irregularities was based on the final ODIHR report. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and Susan Caskie
    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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