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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 180, 96-09-17

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 180, 17 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] VAZGEN MANUKYAN'S CAMPAIGN PROGRAM.
  • [02] BOTAS GETS WORLD BANK LOAN FOR BAKU-CEYHAN STUDY.
  • [03] NEW APPOINTMENTS IN KAZAKSTAN.
  • [04] NAZARBAYEV IN BAKU.
  • [05] RAHKMONOV IN CHINA.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] IZETBEGOVIC LEADS IN BOSNIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE.
  • [07] NATIONALISTS RIDING HIGH IN BOSNIA.
  • [08] IZETBEGOVIC AND MILOSEVIC TO MEET.
  • [09] BOSNIAN SERBS WANT TO PLACE JOINT INSTITUTIONS ON DEMARCATION LINE.
  • [10] SERBIAN STRIKE MARKS TWENTY-FIRST DAY.
  • [11] THE POLITICS OF POPULARITY IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
  • [12] ROMANIA, HUNGARY SIGN HISTORIC TREATY.
  • [13] INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY.
  • [14] ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER REGISTERS AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
  • [15] MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER EXPERTS RESUME TALKS.
  • [16] DRASTIC MEASURES FOR THE BULGARIAN ECONOMY.
  • [17] FOUR ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS SENTENCED FOR SETTING UP PARTY.
  • [18] ALBANIAN WORKERS STAGE GENERAL STRIKE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] VAZGEN MANUKYAN'S CAMPAIGN PROGRAM.

    Armenian presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan, during a 15 September interview in Yerevan, characterized the 22 September presidential election as a choice between alternative approaches to building democracy and the transition to a market economy, and dismissed the Armenian communists as a "spent force." While admitting Armenia's economic collapse was connected to the collapse of the USSR, the blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan, and the war in Karabakh, Manukyan harshly criticized the economic policies of the present leadership, slamming in particular its "illiterate" privatization policy. Manukyan's campaign program focuses on the reconstruction of the industrial sector, reform of the tax system, eradicating corruption and introducing social benefits for the most vulnerable sectors of the population. The first point of Manukyan's program is a pledge to achieve international recognition of the independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh by means of peaceful negotiations, although he conceded that this will be a protracted process. Manukyan is increasingly viewed as a serious threat to incumbent Levon Ter- Petrossyan. -- Liz Fuller in Yerevan (monitoring the presidential election for the European Institute for Media)

    [02] BOTAS GETS WORLD BANK LOAN FOR BAKU-CEYHAN STUDY.

    The World Bank on 12 September announced in a news release it will loan $5 million to Turkey's oil and gas transmission company Botas to undertake a feasibility study and environmental audit of several route options for exporting up to 45 million metric tons of crude oil per year from Azerbaijan and Central Asia. It appears routing options beginning in Baku and transiting Armenia or Georgia to Ceyhan will be evaluated. According to the news release, World Bank assistance for the study does not imply a commitment to further finance the pipeline as it is expected to be built and financed by the private sector. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [03] NEW APPOINTMENTS IN KAZAKSTAN.

    A rash of new appointments was made in the Kazakstani government and presidential apparatus on 17 September, RFE/RL reported the same day. Former Finance Minister Aleksander Pavlov was named Deputy Prime Minister, Nurtay Abykhayev is now senior aide to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, while Alikhan Baymenov has been made deputy director of the presidential administration. -- Lowell Bezanis and Merhat Sharipzhan

    [04] NAZARBAYEV IN BAKU.

    Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Azerbaijani counterpart Heidar Aliev signed a treaty outlining the basic principles governing relations between their countries, a joint statement on the Caspian Sea, and 10 inter-governmental agreements in Baku on 16 September, Russian and Western agencies reported. The statement on the Caspian Sea calls for its demilitarization and the need to intensify negotiations between littoral states to determine the sea's legal status, ITAR-TASS reported. While in Baku, Nazarbayev expressed an interest in Kazakstan's participating in a prospective Transcaucasian railway line which Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have agreed to build. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] RAHKMONOV IN CHINA.

    The presidents of Tajikistan and China, Immomali Rakhmonov and Jiang Zemin, signed a series of bilateral cooperation agreements in Beijing on 16 September, AFP reported. The accords appear to be mainly symbolic and include one on environmental protection and academic exchanges, and another on judicial cooperation. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] IZETBEGOVIC LEADS IN BOSNIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE.

    President Alija Izetbegovic is ahead of his top challenger for the Muslim seat on the Bosnian presidency, Haris Silajdzic, by 81% to 15%, OMRI's special correspondent reported from Sarajevo on 17 September. In the Serb race, Momcilo Krajisnik has 78%, but his opposition challenger Mladen Ivanic has 20%, a remarkably strong showing given the hold of the governing Serbian Democratic Party on the police and the media. A similar development is taking place among the Croats, where Kresimir Zubak is polling only 85% despite his Croatian Democratic Community's virtual monopoly on Croatian political life. His opponent, Ivo Komsic, has 13% support as of 9:00 a.m. Izetbegovic narrowly leads Krajisnik in total number of votes, which puts him in line to be the first to hold the rotating chair of three-man presidency, Reuters noted. CNN said that final presidential returns are expected later in the day. The complete tally for all contests is not due until later this week. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] NATIONALISTS RIDING HIGH IN BOSNIA.

    Despite the challenges offered by Silajdzic, Ivanic, and Komsic, it seems clear that the three nationalist candidates will sweep the race. Similar results can be expected across the board, except perhaps for isolated cases such as Tuzla, where the anti-nationalist tradition is strong. U.S. envoy John Kornblum is now stressing the need to build common institutions, but it is difficult to see how this will happen with nationalists in control of all three groups. OMRI's special correspondent reported from Sarajevo on 17 September that the Bihac pocket kingpin and enemy of Izetbegovic, Fikret Abdic, attracted few votes in his presidential challenge. In Muslim-held Bugojno, experts said that the bomb that blew up the home of a prominent Croat on 13 September was the work of a professional, Onasa reported on 16 September. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] IZETBEGOVIC AND MILOSEVIC TO MEET.

    French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette confirmed on 16 September that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and his Serbian counterpart Slobodan Milosevic would meet in Paris this week, AFP reported. The summit will be the first bilateral meeting between the two presidents, although they have met at several international conferences on Bosnia. Despite an earlier visit to Belgrade by Ejup Ganic, the Bosnian Federation vice president, after which communication lines between the two countries were reestablished, Belgrade has yet not formally recognized the Sarajevo government. Belgrade warned it would not establish diplomatic ties with Bosnia until Bosnia dropped a charge of genocide filed against rump Yugoslavia with the Hague-based criminal tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] BOSNIAN SERBS WANT TO PLACE JOINT INSTITUTIONS ON DEMARCATION LINE.

    Aleksa Buha, head of the Bosnian Serb ruling Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), on Serbian TV expressed worry about the location of future common governmental institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and said that equality must prevail, Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje reported on 17 September. "There was plenty of time for [the international community's high representative] Carl Bildt and [deputy high representative] Michael Steiner to find premises on the demarcation line between the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska, or even to build new buildings [along that line]. I foresee further problems regarding this issue," Oslobodjenje quoted him as saying. Buha called the postponement of municipal elections in Bosnia an irrational decision. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] SERBIAN STRIKE MARKS TWENTY-FIRST DAY.

    About 20,000 workers, including those from the Zastava arms plant and the local automobile manufacturer, and their supporters demonstrated in Kragujevac on 16 September, the 21st day of the strike, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The job action shows no sign of letting up, and some participants predict that "the entire city of Kragujevac will hit the streets" within a day. On 14 September, however, Beta had reported that the workers had met with a partial success in having received an "advance" payment for July wages in arrears. Kragujevac Zastava autoworkers also received the promise of a 120 dinar ($24) bonus, Beta reported. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] THE POLITICS OF POPULARITY IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.

    According to a recent poll of 1,045 citizens of rump Yugoslavia, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic remains by far the most popular politician in the country. Nearly 46% of respondents picked Milosevic as the most popular and effective politician, while Montenegrin opposition leader Novak Killibarda came in second with 12.4%. Ultranationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj and Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic tied for third, each garnering the approval of about 9.5% of survey participants. In Serbia proper, Milosevic was supported by 54.2% of respondents, with Seselj coming in a distant second with 12.45 support. Vecernje novosti reported the poll results on 14 September. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] ROMANIA, HUNGARY SIGN HISTORIC TREATY.

    The Romanian and Hungarian prime ministers, Nicolae Vacaroiu and Gyula Horn, on 16 September signed a basic bilateral treaty that is aimed at controlling the two countries' historic rivalry over the province of Transylvania, local and Western media reported. The document was signed in the western Romanian town of Timisoara, the cradle of the December 1989 revolt that marked the end of the Communist regime in Romania. Romanian President Ion Iliescu, as well as the foreign ministers and political leaders from both countries, attended the ceremony. Romania's two main ultra-nationalist parties, the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the Greater Romania Party, boycotted the event. PUNR leader Gheorghe Funar, who is also mayor of Cluj, proclaimed 16 September a "day of mourning" there. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY.

    The United States on 16 September congratulated the Romanian and Hungarian governments for their signing of the basic treaty on that day, Reuters reported. According to State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, the treaty "demonstrates the commitment of Hungary and Romania to rejoin the Western community of democratic nations and is consistent with the purposes of NATO enlargement." The treaty drew a cooler response from Moscow, AFP reported on 17 September. Although a Foreign Ministry statement did offer some words of praise, it also said: "Russia's attitude to enlargement of NATO eastward is well known in Hungary and Romania, as is the belief that our relations would only gain if this attitude were taken more fully into account." -- Ben Slay

    [14] ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER REGISTERS AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

    Corneliu Vadim Tudor, chairman of the extremist Greater Romania Party, on 16 September registered as candidate in the presidential race to take place on 3 November, Radio Bucharest reported. Tudor, who was accompanied by 40 associates and fans, presented a list with 125,000 signatures in support of his candidacy. Tudor pledged that if he is elected, he will rule Romania with "the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other." He also said that he wished Romania to get back "its natural borders, [as they were set] on 1 December 1918." Tudor is the seventh candidate to formally register with the authorities. -- Dan Ionescu

    [15] MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER EXPERTS RESUME TALKS.

    Expert teams from the Republic of Moldova and the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic met on 16 September in Tiraspol to continue negotiations over the Dniester region's legal status within the Moldovan state, BASA-press reported. The meeting was the first since June, when talks broke down following a chill in Chisinau-Tiraspol relations. Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister Vasile Sova told journalists that another meeting might follow soon, with the participation of mediators from the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine. The main stumbling block in the negotiations appears to be Tiraspol's insistence that Moldova recognize its distinct statehood within the framework of a loose confederation. -- Dan Ionescu

    [16] DRASTIC MEASURES FOR THE BULGARIAN ECONOMY.

    Bulgarian local and national government leaders and leaders of the parliamentary Democratic Left held a closed meeting on 15 September, Bulgarian newspapers reported the next day. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said the meeting's aim was to introduce the government's strategy for overcoming the national economic crisis, 24 Chasa reported. Some 14 banks will close, and some may be put under special governmental supervision, Demokratsiya reported. Depositor insurance is currently 100% for private persons and 50% for enterprises; the new insurance reportedly will not exceed 20% in cash repayments for any account, but depositors may expect 100% repayment in government bonds. Pari on 17 September reported that the meeting also addressed privatizing state firms, including those no longer needed for military production. The Bulgarian government vowed to take drastic measures following the IMF refusal of additional loans. -- Maria Koinova

    [17] FOUR ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS SENTENCED FOR SETTING UP PARTY.

    A Tirana court led by Gjergj Pojani on 16 September sentenced four Albanians to 12-18 months in prison for founding a communist party and trying to overthrow the government by violence, AFP reported. The four (Timoshenko Pekmezi, 54; Sami Meta, 52; Tare Isufi, 73; and Kristaq Mosko, 45) were arrested in February during an investigation into a car-bomb explosion in Tirana, but the charges brought against them were not related to the incident. Pojani said the four were convicted "not because of their beliefs and communist convictions but because of their anti-constitutional activities." Communist parties have been banned in Albania since June 1992. The defendants had allegedly made organizational preparations and collected propaganda material. They said they would appeal the case. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [18] ALBANIAN WORKERS STAGE GENERAL STRIKE.

    Some 150,000 public-sector workers staged a one-hour warning strike on 16 September, Reuters reported. They demanded full compensation from the government for recent price hikes in bread, gas, and fuel and for rising inflation. The Independent Trade Union and the Confederation of Albanian Trade Unions met government officials later that day but no results were announced. The unions threatened to hold a one-day strike in two weeks if no compromise is found. Workers in education, energy, health care, telecommunications, transport, and light industry participated in the strike, which also affected more than 700,000 pupils. -- 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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