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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 182, 96-09-19

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 182, 19 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ZHANIA'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT RUSSIA.
  • [02] ARMENIAN ELECTION UPDATE.
  • [03] RUSSIAN DUMA ON COSSACKS IN KAZAKSTAN.
  • [04] CIS MINISTERS MEET IN BISHKEK.
  • [05] NIYAZOV AND THE TURKMEN MEDIA.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] IZETBEGOVIC WINS BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY.
  • [07] WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENCY?
  • [08] JOULWAN: LIMITED IFOR REDUCTIONS UNTIL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.
  • [09] HAGUE TRIBUNAL REFUSES TO DISMISS CHARGES AGAINST TADIC.
  • [10] BOSNIAN SERB LEADERSHIP SAYS IZETBEGOVIC WON THROUGH "MANIPULATION."
  • [11] SLOVENIA CHASES ASSETS.
  • [12] SERBIAN STRIKE NEAR AN IMPASSE?
  • [13] WWII MASS GRAVE IN MONTENEGRO?
  • [14] ROMANIAN CABINET MOVES QUICKLY ON TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
  • [15] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ON DNIESTER'S LEGAL STATUS.
  • [16] BOMB BLAST IN CENTRAL SOFIA.
  • [17] ALBANIAN POLIO OUTBREAK CLAIMS SEVENTH VICTIM.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ZHANIA'S RESERVATIONS ABOUT RUSSIA.

    The chairman of Georgia's parliament, Zurab Zhania, has claimed that Russia's policy toward Abkhazia and South Ossetia seeks "to legalize the separatists' position" by turning a blind eye to elections the two breakaway regions are planning in November, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 September. Zhania said the elections would condone "the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Georgian population carried out by Abkhaz separatists," and argued that the Russian peacekeepers in those regions have a responsibility to prevent the elections from taking place. Zhania once again stressed that Tbilisi was prepared for a "strategic partnership" with Moscow on condition of Georgia's territorial integrity. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [02] ARMENIAN ELECTION UPDATE.

    Three candidates have withdrawn from the 22 September presidential election and thrown their support behind National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manukyan, Western and Russian agencies reported on 17 September. The now four- way presidential race pits Communist leader Sergei Badalyan and Scientific- Industrial Civic Union leader Ashot Manucharyan against Manukyan and incumbent Levon Ter-Petrossyan. Long the clear favorite, Ter-Petrossyan is now widely perceived to be facing a serious challenge from Manukyan. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [03] RUSSIAN DUMA ON COSSACKS IN KAZAKSTAN.

    A sub-committee of the Russian State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs has issued a protest against what it termed "unceasing persecution of the Russian population, especially Cossacks, in Kazakstan", ITAR-TASS reported on 18 September. The sub-committee is chaired by Aleksei Lebed, the brother of Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed. The statement referred to a series of "preventative arrests" in Kazakstan, including the arrest of three men on 11 September for wearing Cossack uniform in a public meeting in Kaskelen. The letter argued that Cossacks are being badgered "primarily for adherence to their primordial habits and ways." This is the second such statement emanating from the Russian State Duma on this subject in a week. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] CIS MINISTERS MEET IN BISHKEK.

    Ministers for CIS affairs from 10 CIS states (excluding Azerbaijan and Ukraine) met in the Kyrgyz capital to discuss ways to promote economic integration between CIS member states, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 September. Russian CIS Minister Aman Tuleev said that "the repayment of the debts by state-owned packages of shares of industrial enterprises of CIS republics may become the main mechanism in this respect." Such debt-equity swaps have already been concluded with Moldova, but are being resisted by Ukraine. -- Peter Rutland

    [05] NIYAZOV AND THE TURKMEN MEDIA.

    Turkmen authorities have circulated an official statement declaring that President Saparmurad Niyazov is the founder of all local newspapers published in the country, according to a 17 September Pravda-5 report. Noting that Niyazov was earlier officially declared the founder of all the republic's central press, the report suggested the mass media in Turkmenistan have been "essentially monopolized." In other news, Turkmenistan's first Islamic theological school, established by Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, has opened in Ashgabat, Zaman reported on 18 September. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] IZETBEGOVIC WINS BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY.

    The OSCE supervisor of the Bosnian elections, Robert Frowick, announced on 18 September that Alija Izetbegovic of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won both the Muslim seat on the three-man presidency and the most votes of any of those three winners. Izetbegovic took 729,034 votes, while the Serb Momcilo Krajisnik had 690,373 and the Croat Kresimir Zubak won 342,007, Oslobodjenje reported. As to their respective challengers, Haris Silajdzic finished with 123,784 votes, Mladen Ivanic with 305,803, and Ivo Kosmic with 38,261. As the top vote-getter, Izetbegovic will be the first to hold the rotating chair of the presidency, although some legal confusion remains as to whether he will have the position for two years or for a shorter term. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENCY?

    Getting the three nationalist leaders to work together will be no easy task. Krajisnik and his Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) are on record as wanting the destruction of the Bosnian state and the unification of all Serbs in a greater Serbia. Krajisnik nonetheless said on 18 September that "the fact that we sought posts in the joint institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina shows that we are ready to work there and think that we can secure the rights of the Serb people, " AFP reported, quoting SRNA. Zubak, whose party formally acknowledges the Bosnian state but openly favors union with Croatia, said he will work "for the full implementation of Dayton." Izetbegovic's SDA is the most unambiguous of the three leading parties in its support for a united Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the party has a strong Islamic wing that would prefer a small "pure" state to a multi-ethnic one. In any event, Izetbegovic said: "I want to repeat my political goal. In short, it is the reunification of the country and justice in it." -- Patrick Moore

    [08] JOULWAN: LIMITED IFOR REDUCTIONS UNTIL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

    Gen. George Joulwan, NATO's supreme commander, said on 18 September he would recommend only a limited reduction of the NATO Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina until municipal elections are held, AFP reported. The exact date for the elections has yet to be decided, but Joulwan said they may be held in November. NATO had previously planned to significantly reduce the 50,000-strong force after Bosnia's landmark September elections. Joulwan said it is "premature" to say whether a NATO force will be needed in Bosnia next year to prevent a new war breaking out. That same day NATO decided to send a new military command to oversee IFOR's withdrawal from Bosnia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] HAGUE TRIBUNAL REFUSES TO DISMISS CHARGES AGAINST TADIC.

    The UN international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia rejected on 17 September the request by defense lawyers to abandon 21 out of 31 charges against Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic, Nasa Borba reported the next day. Tadic has been charged with killing 13 Muslims and torturing 18 others in detention camps and during ethnic cleansing in northwestern Bosnia. In a request filed in August, Tadic's lawyers argued the prosecution had failed to prove the charges despite summoning 75 witnesses, and they asked that the majority of the accusations be dismissed. The court ruled that only in the final stages of the trial will it be decided whether the charges have been proved. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] BOSNIAN SERB LEADERSHIP SAYS IZETBEGOVIC WON THROUGH "MANIPULATION."

    Republika Srpska Deputy Prime Minister Velibor Ostojic said on 18 September that Izetbegovic's election as president of Bosnia's collective presidency was "the result of manipulation," AFP reported. Ostojic said the Serbs had had a "realistic expectation" that their candidate, Momcilo Krajisnik, would win the most votes, but he added that the Republika Srpska would stand by the result. Bosnian Serb television waited more than six hours to announce that Izetbegovic will be Bosnia's president again. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] SLOVENIA CHASES ASSETS.

    Slovenia has petitioned authorities to freeze assets held by nine French banks registered under the name of the former Yugoslavia. French authorities are expected to rule sometime "next week" on whether the assets, totaling an estimated $593 million, will be frozen, AFP reported on 18 September. The report also noted that Ljubljana "fears that the accounts ... could be seized by rump Yugoslavia" and demands that the banks "be required to account for movements of capital since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia." In a similar development earlier this summer, Ljubljana succeeded in winning a court order freezing Belgrade's assets in Cyprus, Nasa Borba reported back on 22 July. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] SERBIAN STRIKE NEAR AN IMPASSE?

    The strike by arms and auto workers in Kragujevac continued to grab headlines on 19 September. Nasa Borba reported that while the job action continues, the arms facility has secured a preliminary agreement with the rump Yugoslav army on a deal valued at nearly 10 million dinars ($2 million). But protesters vow their strike will go on until all grievances are met. Whether Serbia's labor movement will support the strikers, however, is a question. Aleksandar Ivovic, president of the Union of Metalworkers of Serbia, has publicly criticized their efforts, saying the Kragujevac protesters are jeopardizing the company's future and well-being. He added that because many of their demands, including calls for back pay, have been met, the purpose of continued action is unclear, Tanjug reported on 17 September. -- Stan Markotich

    [13] WWII MASS GRAVE IN MONTENEGRO?

    A group of historians working with Kosovar Albanian historian Zekiria Cana claims to have found a mass grave containing the bodies of about 2,000 ethnic Albanians near Tivar, international media reported on 19 September. The men were allegedly killed by Serbs and Montenegrins at the end of World War II. The historians had been searching for many years for the victims, who allegedly were among about 5,000 ethnic Albanian members of partisan groups who were ordered to leave Kosovo in March 1945 on the pretext that they could join Yugoslav partisan groups. Albanian historians claim that most of them were killed by Serbian guards during their march from Kosovo through northern Albania to Montenegro. Cana claims that about 50,000 Albanians in Kosovo were killed by the Serbian military administration after the war. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [14] ROMANIAN CABINET MOVES QUICKLY ON TREATY WITH HUNGARY.

    Romania's government on 18 September started ratification procedures for the basic treaty with Hungary signed two days before, Radio Bucharest reported. The cabinet discussed the draft law on the treaty's ratification, which will be forwarded to parliament soon. Meanwhile, deputies from the ultra- nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) continued criticizing the document. On 17 September, PUNR Deputy Chairman Ioan Gavra described the absence of Hungarian President Arpad Goncz from the signing ceremony as "another slap in Romania's face." While the treaty was being signed in Romania, Gavra said, Goncz was at "NATO headquarters [in Brussels], bringing the news that Hungary now has free access" to the organization. PUNR Chairman Gheorghe Funar on 18 September formally registered with the authorities as a candidate in the presidential election scheduled for 3 November. -- Dan Ionescu

    [15] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ON DNIESTER'S LEGAL STATUS.

    Moldovan Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi said a law on the future legal status of the breakaway Dniester region has a good chance of being completed and approved in the first half of 1997, Infotag reported, quoting the London Sunday Telegraph. According to Lucinschi, the law will require one to two years for implementation. He added that Moldova "is doomed to conduct a well- balanced [foreign] policy, since any unilateral orientation to either Romania or Russia may trigger tension in society." -- Dan Ionescu

    [16] BOMB BLAST IN CENTRAL SOFIA.

    A homemade bomb exploded near the Rodina Hotel in central Sofia early on 18 September, injuring one person, Bulgarian media reported on 19 September. The bomb went off in front of a truck loaded with construction materials, propelling the truck into a tree. This is the second bombing in Sofia's city center, coming after the explosion near the Palace of Culture two months ago. Standart suggests underworld feuding may be behind the bombings. -- Maria Koinova

    [17] ALBANIAN POLIO OUTBREAK CLAIMS SEVENTH VICTIM.

    The World Health Organization has expressed concern over a recent outbreak of polio in Albania that has killed seven and infected 59 people, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 19 September. There are now more polio cases in Albania than were recorded in all the rest of Europe during 1996. Local media have connected the outbreak to the vaccination of 350,000 children in April and May, but according to the WHO, tests have proved that the vaccine was not the cause of the epidemic. The WHO estimates that about 3.2 million vaccinations are needed to prevent a further spread of the disease. Currently Albania has only about 300,000 doses available. -- 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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