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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 185, 96-09-24

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 185, 24 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN ELECTION RESULTS IN DISPUTE.
  • [02] IDA LOAN TO AZERBAIJAN.
  • [03] RUSSIAN JOURNALIST IN TROUBLE OVER SECRET LETTER.
  • [04] TAJIK DIPLOMAT EXPELLED FROM IRAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] DOUBTS GROW ABOUT BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [06] BOSNIAN SERBS GIVE MUSLIMS ULTIMATUM TO LEAVE VILLAGE.
  • [07] FIFTY BODIES RECOVERED FROM PILICA MASS GRAVE.
  • [08] LIFTING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA TO BE POSTPONED?
  • [09] UPDATE ON RUMP YUGOSLAV-CROATIAN RELATIONS.
  • [10] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENTERS ELECTION CAMPAIGN.
  • [11] MAJOR HASHISH SEIZURE IN ROMANIA.
  • [12] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH NEW OSCE MISSION HEAD.
  • [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.
  • [14] BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES FOR SALE, BANKS UNDER SUPERVISION.
  • [15] ALBANIAN PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER RESIGNS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN ELECTION RESULTS IN DISPUTE.

    The outcome of Armenia's presidential election appears unclear in the face of contradictory figures emanating from the Central Election Commission, claims and counter-claims of victory made by rival sides, and charges of ballot rigging, international media reported on 23 September. Incumbent President Levon Ter-Petrossyan claimed victory on the basis of incomplete results which gave him 56.9% of the vote to 35.6% for his chief rival, Vazgen Manukyan. Manukyan and his supporters claim that these figures are the reverse of the truth. Between 25,000 and 100,000 people, according to varying estimates, joined an opposition rally in Yerevan on 23 September and marched on the Central Election Commission building to demand Ter-Petrossyan's resignation. The New York Times, citing an unnamed "senior election monitor," reported on 24 September that "a lot of clear and blatant fraud" occurred during the balloting. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [02] IDA LOAN TO AZERBAIJAN.

    The World Bank's International Development Association has approved a credit of some $20 million to rehabilitate and improve Azerbaijan's gas delivery system, RFE/RL reported on 23 September. The credit will be given to the government of Azerbaijan which, in turn, will lend it to Azerigas to upgrade the gas system's analytical equipment and improve its corporate management. The bank had identified Azerbaijan as the country most dependent upon natural gas in the world. The present distribution system loses or is unable to account for an estimated 20% of its inputs. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [03] RUSSIAN JOURNALIST IN TROUBLE OVER SECRET LETTER.

    The publication of a letter allegedly sent by Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev to his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov (see ) has been traced back to a Russian journalist working for Izvestiya, NTV reported on 23 September. The report quoted Kazakstani media as saying Nazarbayev has promised to expel the journalist, Vladimir Ardiev. The letter reportedly referred to Kazakstan's disenchantment with the customs union of Russia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. Nazarbayev denies any such letter was ever sent and called reports of it "provocation." NTV noted the letter was first reported by RFE/RL and later obtained by at least four other agencies, but that only the Izvestiya reporter was facing trouble on account of it. -- Bruce Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan

    [04] TAJIK DIPLOMAT EXPELLED FROM IRAN.

    The Iranian government on 23 September told the Tajik Charge d'Affaires in Tehran, Tashmet Nazirov, to leave the country within 24 hours, AFP reported. The reason given for the expulsion was "activities incompatible" with Nazirov's diplomatic status. The move by the Iranians is seen as retaliation for the 20 September arrest and expulsion of an unnamed Iranian diplomat in Dushanbe, who was accused of committing unspecified "hostile acts." -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] DOUBTS GROW ABOUT BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.

    A quick recount of votes on 22 September confirmed that the three nationalist parties won the 14 September vote, but more questions are being raised about how free and fair the ballot was. No single example of gross fraud has been given, but various violations across Bosnia-Herzegovina led to vote totals vastly exceeding the originally estimated 60-70% turnout, Reuters reported on 24 September. In some cases, the results were as high as 111% in what a spokesman for the NGO International Crisis Group called "a mathematical impossibility." Controls were lax, monitors were present at only a third of the stations, and one monitor told OMRI that IFOR seemed to regard his colleagues as a nuisance. The OSCE, which supervises the elections, nonetheless appears anxious to validate the vote. OMRI's special correspondent reports from Sarajevo that the OSCE may well say that the various sides' "dirty tricks" canceled each other out and that the vote was basically fair. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] BOSNIAN SERBS GIVE MUSLIMS ULTIMATUM TO LEAVE VILLAGE.

    Bosnian Serb authorities have given an ultimatum to a group of some 100 Muslims who on 22 September returned to the village of Jusici, in eastern Bosnia, carrying weapons that are banned in the separation zone, Reuters reported. The Muslims were told to leave by the next day or to be thrown out. That deadline was later extended to 25 September. AFP quoted NATO sources as saying that moving armed people into sensitive areas was clearly "provocative" and should have been done in "phases." Oslobodjenje on 24 September argued that while the Dayton peace agreement provides for the right of refugees to return to their homes, international mechanisms were not designed to ensure their safe return. The Muslims in Jusici were quoted as saying they will stay in the village at the cost of death, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [07] FIFTY BODIES RECOVERED FROM PILICA MASS GRAVE.

    International experts working at the Pilica mass grave site in eastern Bosnia have recovered 50 bodies so far, AFP reported on 23 September. The grave--the fourth Srebrenica site to be excavated--is believed to contain some 100 bodies of Muslim men killed after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. Some 154 bodies were recovered from the Cerska mass grave, 33 from Nova Kasaba and at least 58 from Lazete. Meanwhile, Bosnian government experts have been recovering bodies left in the open on the Kravice hillside, close to Srebrenica. Finally, war invalids and dependents of soldiers killed in the war demonstrated in Tuzla and the village of Gornji Rahici on 23 September to demand their pensions, Oslobodjenje reported. They have received no payments in six months. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] LIFTING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA TO BE POSTPONED?

    The independent Serbian daily Nasa Borba on 24 September reported that a disagreement between Moscow and Washington may mean that a UN Security Council resolution on lifting sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia will be postponed. Under the Dayton accords, sanctions were to be removed 10 days after elections took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Sergei Lavrov, argues that sanctions should be lifted on 24 September, since the elections took place on 14 September. Washington, however, stresses that the 10-day period cannot be considered to commence until the election results have been validated. -- Stan Markotich

    [09] UPDATE ON RUMP YUGOSLAV-CROATIAN RELATIONS.

    Veljko Knezevic, an official at Belgrade's embassy in Zagreb, is quoted by Politika on 24 September as saying that Belgrade is prepared to eliminate visa restrictions for Croatian citizens. He added that owing to Croatians' "great interest" in traveling to the rump Yugoslavia, Belgrade is considering opening consular offices throughout Croatia, including in Osijek and Split. Meanwhile, the Croatian parliament on 20 September ratified the 23 August accord normalizing relations with Belgrade. It also adopted legislation granting amnesty to rebel ethnic Serbs, excluding war criminals, who fought against Croatia in 1991. -- Stan Markotich

    [10] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENTERS ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

    Gheorghe Tinca, speaking on the Radio Bucharest program "Election Tribune" on 23 September, praised the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) for favoring Romania's integration into the EU and NATO. He said that President Ion Iliescu was "probably the only politician who was doing his best for Romania's [European and Euro-Atlantic] integration." Tinca announced over the 21-22 September weekend his intention to run for the Senate on the PDSR's ticket in Cluj-Napoca. Last week, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said he would join the ruling party and run for the Senate. Both Melescanu and Tinca were senior Foreign Ministry officials under communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. -- Dan Ionescu

    [11] MAJOR HASHISH SEIZURE IN ROMANIA.

    In the biggest drugs seizure in Romania so far this year, border police on 20 September confiscated more than 4.5 tons of hashish at a crossing point on the border with Hungary, Jurnalul national and Reuters reported on 23 September. The drugs were hidden in two containers filled with furniture. Romanian investigators are cooperating with the Bulgarian and Turkish police to find out how the drugs were smuggled into Romania. -- Dan Ionescu

    [12] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH NEW OSCE MISSION HEAD.

    Mircea Snegur on 23 September received Donald Johnson, the new head of the OSCE mission in the Republic of Moldova, BASA-press reported. Johnson told Snegur that he will continue to uphold the OSCE's position that the breakaway Dniester region is part of the Moldovan state. Snegur said that Moldova will carry on seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict. Meanwhile, Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popov and his Russian counterpart, Yevgenii Primakov, discussed the Dniester issue in New York, where they are participating in the 51st session of the UN General Assembly. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.

    The Central Election Committee has refused to register former caretaker premier Reneta Indzhova as a presidential candidate, Reuters reported on 23 September. It explained its decision by noting that her vice presidential candidate, Gen. Stoyan Tsonkov, is still a member of the armed forces and, as such, is precluded by the election law from running in the ballot. Indzhova announced that she will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, saying a candidate's military status should not nullify his candidacy. Meanwhile, the parliament has supported a presidential veto of the country's new coat of arms (see ), Duma reported on 21 September. -- Maria Koinova

    [14] BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES FOR SALE, BANKS UNDER SUPERVISION.

    The government has approved a list of 15 state-owned enterprises to be privatized in a bid to gain a $116 million loan from the IMF, international media reported. On that list are seven major chemical works, two metallurgic plants, two shipyards, and four engineering companies. Meanwhile, the National Bank on 23 September placed nine banks teetering on the brink of collapse under government supervision. It also ordered the restructuring of several others. Five banks--including the major state-owned Mineral bank and the largest independent bank, First Private--are currently undergoing bankruptcy procedures, AFP reported on 24 September. -- Maria Koinova

    [15] ALBANIAN PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER RESIGNS.

    Albert Brojka has resigned in order to be able to run as a candidate for the Tirana mayoralty in the 20 October local elections, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 24 September. Meanwhile, Dita Informacion says that the permanent Central Electoral Commission is not performing its work properly and that disputes between the Democrats and the opposition are still prevalent. No consensus seems to have been reached over the radio and TV coverage to be granted each party during the election campaign. Zeri i Popullit has protested that the local election law has been violated by President Sali Berisha, who has engaged in election campaigning, and by public TV, which broadcast four times the opening of the ruling Democrats' 22 September election campaign. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and Jan Cleave
    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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