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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 188, 96-09-27

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 188, 27 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] CONFUSION, CRACKDOWN IN YEREVAN.
  • [02] SHEVARDNADZE CANCELS TRIP TO UN.
  • [03] RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION IN BAKU.
  • [04] DEMONSTRATION IN ALMATY.
  • [05] MOSCOW, DUSHANBE ON FALL OF KABUL.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY TO MEET?
  • [07] BOSNIAN JAILS "WORSE THAN UGANDA."
  • [08] CALL FOR LOYALIST BOSNIAN SERBS TO ORGANIZE.
  • [09] MAJOR POWERS AGREE TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE.
  • [10] AVRAMOVIC ADDRESSES MORE THAN 10,000 PROTESTERS IN KRAGUJEVAC.
  • [11] ROMANIAN SENATE RATIFIES TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
  • [12] CEAUSESCU'S YOUNGEST SON DIES IN VIENNA.
  • [13] DNIESTER REGION TO ELECT PRESIDENT IN DECEMBER.
  • [14] BULGARIA FACING HYPERINFLATION?

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] CONFUSION, CRACKDOWN IN YEREVAN.

    The situation in Yerevan on 26-27 September remained tense and confused: tanks were deployed in the city center and troops dispersed groups of bystanders, according to The New York Times of 27 September. RFE/RL reported that main roads into Yerevan are blocked and that some classes at Yerevan State University have been suspended. It is not clear whether criminal charges have been formally filed against the eight opposition deputies whose immunity was lifted by an almost unanimous parliamentary vote on 26 September. Also unclear is the fate of opposition presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan: reports of his arrest on 26 September were based on a case of mistaken identity, according to RFE/RL, and an Interior Ministry spokesman claimed that he is in hiding. Reuters quoted Central Electoral Commission Chairman Khachatour Bezirjian as stating that Manukyan, as a presidential candidate, has immunity from arrest until 29 September. The CEC is investigating claims of malpractice during the vote count at 20 precincts, according to RFE/RL. The presidents of Russia, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan have all congratulated President Levon Ter-Petrossyan on his reelection, RTR reported. - - Liz Fuller

    [02] SHEVARDNADZE CANCELS TRIP TO UN.

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze will not after all travel to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, his press spokesman Vakhtang Abashidze told ITAR-TASS on 26 September. Abashidze attributed Shevardnadze's decision to internal tensions arising from the decisions of the South Ossetiyan and Abkhaz parliaments to hold presidential and parliamentary elections respectively. Also on 26 September, the Tbilisi-based Abkhaz parliament- in-exile voted for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping forces from Abkhazia and against any further Georgian participation in Russian-mediated negotiations on solving the Abkhaz problem unless a breakthrough is achieved in the near future, Radio Mayak reported. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] RUSSIAN DUMA DELEGATION IN BAKU.

    Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev told a Russian State Duma delegation on 26 September that he favors closer cooperation in all spheres on a mutually favorable basis, Turan reported. Aliev accused the Russian leadership of double standards in insisting that Chechnya is a constituent part of the Russian Federation but allegedly not adhering to the same argument with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh; he said that Russia is uniquely placed to effect a solution of the Karabakh conflict but is not yet using all the means at its disposal to do so. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] DEMONSTRATION IN ALMATY.

    Between 60 and 70 scholars, writers and members of political movements staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the Kazakstani parliament building on 26 September, RFE/RL reported. The rally was organized by the Azamat and Kazak Tili (Kazak language) movements and demonstrators demanded that a draft law giving the Russian language equal status to Kazak not be adopted. Karavan Blitz reported on 24 September that Russian nationalists claim that adopting the law still does not go far enough to prevent discrimination against the Russian population, while Kazak national movements say the law goes too far. Under the present constitution, Kazak is the only official language. -- Bruce Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan

    [05] MOSCOW, DUSHANBE ON FALL OF KABUL.

    Taliban fighters took control of Kabul on 26 September, causing immediate anxiety in Moscow and Dushanbe. Moscow registered its serious concern and called for a cessation of hostilities, Russian media reported. Dushanbe and the Russian border guards in Tajikistan made it clear they still support the government of Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, RTR reported the same day. Moscow has widely been viewed as a supporter of Rabbani and the forces allied to him -- who were Moscow's staunchest opponents during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The latest developments represent a blow to Moscow and Dushanbe's efforts to neutralize the Tajik opposition based in Afghanistan. -- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY TO MEET?

    President Alija Izetbegovic has said that the new three-man presidency will meet in Sarajevo on 30 September, AFP reported on 26 September. He noted that failure to hold the session will signal "the division of Bosnia" and that he is sure the Serbian representative, Momcilo Krajisnik, will attend. Krajisnik, who has said he does not feel safe in Sarajevo, argued that the meeting should be held on the border between the Croatian-Muslim Federation and the Republika Srpska. Izetbegovic accused the Serbs of "coming up with reasons" to prevent the meeting taking place, such as insisting that the Muslims release some 30 remaining Serbian prisoners. Meanwhile in Pale, Bosnian Serb Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha slammed Izetbegovic, who had spoken at the UN. Buha said that Izetbegovic's remarks revealed his "Islamic fundamentalism" and that he is consequently incapable of leading a Bosnia that includes Serbs and Croats as well. ^ Patrick Moore

    [07] BOSNIAN JAILS "WORSE THAN UGANDA."

    Federal ombudsmen have accused the police of violating human rights in every canton, Onasa reported on 26 September. The ombudsmen said the police hold prisoners for longer than the legal limit without telling their families. The police also drag out investigations for up to three years, and still make charges against people who served in the Serbian or Croatian armies despite the amnesty, the ombudsmen added. People have been denied passports and have been intimidated from visiting the ombudsmen's office in Mostar. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] CALL FOR LOYALIST BOSNIAN SERBS TO ORGANIZE.

    Gen. Jovan Divjak has appealed to Serbs living on federal territory to form their own political party and seek their own voice in Bosnian politics. Divjak is a Bosnian Serb who remained loyal to the Bosnian government and held a command throughout the war. But he was cashiered when the Muslim Party of Democratic Action consolidated its control over the military. He pointed out that the Serbs make up "10% to 15% of the population on the territory controlled by the government but on the list of candidates [there] they were not even 1%." Divjak said that the existing Serbian Civic Council is not enough and that the loyalist Serbs need a real political party, Oslobodjenje reported on 27 September. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] MAJOR POWERS AGREE TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE.

    Foreign ministers of the International Contact Group on 26 September said that UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia will shortly be lifted, Reuters reported. A statement on the meeting said the ministers "looked forward to early certification of the [14 September] Bosnian elections and to the lifting of sanctions by the UN Security Council soon thereafter." British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind commented that "it's days we're talking about, not weeks." Robert Frowick, head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia, told the meeting he expected to announce final election results within 48 hours. The ministers were meeting to discuss how to shore up peace following the ballot and get the joint presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina to start working. That body is scheduled to meet next week. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [10] AVRAMOVIC ADDRESSES MORE THAN 10,000 PROTESTERS IN KRAGUJEVAC.

    Former Yugoslav Central Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic on 26 September addressed a demonstration of more than 10,000 in Kragujevac, where workers at the local arms and automobile plants have been on strike for 30 days, Nasa Borba reported. Avramovic--who was sacked on 15 May after publicly falling out of favor with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic over his economic reform program--attacked the Serbian authorities. He is quoted as saying that "one should make those cadres who do not leave the [comfort of] their cars use tram No. 2 so that they see in what miserable conditions [the rest of] the world lives. They have no clue how it is to live with a salary of 300 to 400 dinar. I was thunderstruck when I learned that you are fighting for 230 dinars." He also criticized the "old bureaucratic leadership of the trade unions." -- Fabian Schmidt

    [11] ROMANIAN SENATE RATIFIES TREATY WITH HUNGARY.

    The Romanian Senate on 26 September ratified the basic bilateral treaty with Hungary, Radio Bucharest and Western media reported. The treaty was signed 10 days ago in Timisoara by the prime ministers of the two countries. Senators representing the ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity voted against ratification of the treaty. They were joined by several senators from the Socialist Labor Party, the Greater Romanian Party, and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, the main political organization representing Romania's Hungarian minority. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu attended the session. The treaty, which is expected to end the long-standing rivalry over Transylvania and help improve the situation of the 1.5 million-strong Hungarian minority in Romania, is considered vital for the two countries' aspirations to join the EU and NATO. -- Dan Ionescu

    [12] CEAUSESCU'S YOUNGEST SON DIES IN VIENNA.

    Nicu Ceausescu, the youngest son of late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, died on 26 September in a Vienna hospital from the effects of cirrhosis of the liver, Western agencies reported. Nicu (45), who had the reputation of a hard- drinking playboy, was generally seen in the 1980s as his father's heir apparent. A communist party boss in Sibiu County, Nicu was sentenced in 1990 to five years in jail for his alleged role in the slaying of 91 persons during the December 1989 revolt, which toppled his father. His parents were executed on Christmas Day 1989. Nicu was freed in November 1992 for medical reasons. Earlier this month, he was flown to Vienna, where he was on the waiting list for a liver transplant. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] DNIESTER REGION TO ELECT PRESIDENT IN DECEMBER.

    The Supreme Soviet (parliament) of the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic has scheduled the presidential elections for 22 December, Infotag reported on 26 September. At the same time, it adopted the law on presidential elections following stormy debates in which demands were made to postpone the elections because of the dire economic and social situation in the region. Some deputies said the existing rivalry between the self-styled president of the region, Igor Smirnov, and parliamentary chairman Grigorii Marakutsa may lead to further de-stabilization. With a population of some 720,000, the Dniester region broke away from Moldova in 1990. The Republic of Moldova, which has not recognized Dniester independence, sees elections there as illegal. -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] BULGARIA FACING HYPERINFLATION?

    Leading Bulgarian economist Georgi Petrov on 26 September said that hyperinflation is inevitable unless money-losing enterprises are rapidly privatized, international media reported. Even though the Central Bank hiked the base interest to 300% this week (see ), people continue to cash their leva for dollars in non-stop exchange offices in Sofia, Reuters reported. In an effort to rescue their money, more than 150 Sofia citizens stood in line on 26 September outside the National bank to obtain treasury bonds, which could yield an annual interest rate of about 450%. -- Maria Koinova

    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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