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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 190, 96-10-01

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 190, 1 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] CORRECTION:
  • [02] TER-PETROSSYAN SOFTENS RHETORIC IN TV ADDRESS.
  • [03] GEORGIA DENIES ABKHAZ ALLEGATIONS.
  • [04] AUTUMN SESSION OF AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT OPENS.
  • [05] CENTRAL ASIA VOICES CONCERN OVER KABUL'S FALL.
  • [06] KAZAKSTANI TRADE UNIONS IN DISPUTE WITH GOVERNMENT.
  • [07] TAJIKISTAN: PEACE IN THE EAST, FIGHTING IN THE WEST.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEETS.
  • [09] BOSNIAN SERB RULING PARTY LOSES TWO-THIRDS PARLIAMENT MAJORITY.
  • [10] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER URGES DONORS TO KEEP PROMISES.
  • [11] UN TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE WHILE KEEPING ASSETS FROZEN.
  • [12] MILOSEVIC FAMILY TO FORM COALITION IN UPCOMING ELECTIONS.
  • [13] MUSLIM LEADER RETURNS TO SANDZAK.
  • [14] ATTEMPT TO BLOCK ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TREATY FAILS.
  • [15] U.S. URGES WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA.
  • [16] BULGARIAN SEEKS EU HELP WITH GRAIN CRISIS.
  • [17] OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FAVORED TO WIN BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [18] POLIO CLAIMS ELEVENTH VICTIM IN ALBANIA.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] CORRECTION:

    In the 30 September OMRI Daily Digest, the first sentence of the item "Commission upholds Ter-Petrossyan's election victory" should have read: Armenia's Central Electoral Commission on 29 September released the final results of the 22 September presidential election in which incumbent Levon Ter- Petrossyan received 51.75% of the 1,333,204 votes cast.

    [02] TER-PETROSSYAN SOFTENS RHETORIC IN TV ADDRESS.

    Speaking on state TV on 30 September, Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan acknowledged that voter dissatisfaction with his leadership's social and economic policies compelled more than 40% of the electorate to vote against him in the 22 September presidential elections, RFE/RL reported. He reiterated his campaign promises of a government reshuffle and a crackdown on corruption. Ter-Petrossyan characterized the 25 September attack on the parliament building by supporters of his opponent Vazgen Manukyan as "a sad event" but argued that it should not be turned "into a national tragedy." A spokesman for the Armenian prosecutor told Reuters on 30 September that only nine arrest warrants have been issued so far, but Western diplomats estimate that a total of 250 have been detained, many of whom did not participate in the violence. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] GEORGIA DENIES ABKHAZ ALLEGATIONS.

    On 30 September, the Georgian Foreign Ministry denied charges by the leadership of the breakaway region of Abkhazia that Georgian troops were responsible for a series of explosions and terrorist acts in Abkhazia's Gali and Ochamchira raions over the past few days, ITAR-TASS reported. Also on 30 September, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told a news conference in Tbilisi that the UN does not envisage any participation in peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia, although he did not exclude the involvement of other international organizations in mediating a peace agreement between the central Georgian government in Tbilisi and the separatist leadership in Sukhumi. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] AUTUMN SESSION OF AZERBAIJANI PARLIAMENT OPENS.

    Azerbaijan's parliament began its autumn session on 30 September, ITAR-TASS reported, but failed to elect a new speaker to replace Rasul Guliev, who stepped down last month after harshly criticizing the country's economic policy. The agenda for the session includes the establishment of free economic zones and cooperation in the oil sector within the framework of the CIS, according to the news agency Turan. -- Liz Fuller

    [05] CENTRAL ASIA VOICES CONCERN OVER KABUL'S FALL.

    The Tajik government on 30 September expressed its concern that the recent events in Kabul will have a negative impact on efforts to secure the Tajik- Afghan border, Russian media reported. Also on 30 September, the Kazakstani Foreign Ministry called on the UN to take urgent measures to end the bloodshed in Afghanistan, warning that economic collapse and political instability there could threaten the stability of Central Asia, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce Pannier

    [06] KAZAKSTANI TRADE UNIONS IN DISPUTE WITH GOVERNMENT.

    The Federation of Kazakstani Trade Unions has unilaterally suspended parts of the General Agreement on cooperation with the government, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 September. In a document released the same day, it blamed the government for the "collapse of economic, financial, and social policies" in the country. It warned that in the future it would not refrain from actions protesting "the mass impoverishment of the majority of the population." -- Bruce Pannier

    [07] TAJIKISTAN: PEACE IN THE EAST, FIGHTING IN THE WEST.

    RFE/RL reported on 30 September that, with the truce agreement along Tajikistan's northern highway still holding, a new peace agreement has been worked out between the Tajik government and opposition guaranteeing that the southern highway will be open to vehicles. Tensions along the Tajik-Afghan border remain high following the downing of a Russian helicopter on 29 September by fire from the Afghan side of the border. Meanwhile, in the western Tajik town of Tursun Zade, fighting is reported between two local groups vying for control of the town. Ibodullo Baimatov, who captured the town by force in January 1996, is battling a former ally known only as Kadyrkul, Pravda reported on 28 September. Government troops sent to the area are openly supporting Kadyrkul. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY MEETS.

    The three members of Bosnia's newly elected chief executive body met on 30 September at the Hotel Saraj on the road between Sarajevo and Pale. The international community's High Representative Carl Bildt and his deputy Michael Steiner welcomed Alija Izetbegovic, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Kresimir Zubak, but then left the three to talk alone. Onasa quoted a spokesman as calling the talks "business-like," but Oslobodjenje referred to a "very good atmosphere" and Nasa Borba even reported a "friendly atmosphere." The three agreed that the parliament and presidency would both meet on 5 October, and that the government would be formed and convened by 30 October, according to Oslobodjenje. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] BOSNIAN SERB RULING PARTY LOSES TWO-THIRDS PARLIAMENT MAJORITY.

    The Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) won parliamentary polls in the Republika Srpska, but with a sharply reduced majority that will not enable it to overturn decisions of the Bosnian presidency, AFP reported on 30 September. According to results certified by the OSCE, the SDS won 45 seats out of 83 in the Bosnian Serb parliament, down from the 76 seats it held previously. Either Bosnian entity's parliament can veto the presidency's decisions, but only with a two-thirds majority. The parliament is also no longer purely Serb, with 17 Muslim deputies and one Croat. The Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the leading Muslim party, is the second largest party in the Bosnian Serb parliament with 14 seats. The Serb opposition Alliance for Peace and Progress is third with 10 seats. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER URGES DONORS TO KEEP PROMISES.

    Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic said on 30 September that many international donors have failed to honor financial pledges to Bosnia- Herzegovina, warning that there would be no stable peace without financial support, AFP reported. Muratovic said only 40% of the pledges made at conferences in December 1995 and April 1996 have been committed to concrete projects. A World Bank study released the same day showed that nearly all the $330 million it pledged to make available by 31 December 1996 had been committed. Thirteen World Bank projects are operational in Bosnia, and 629 contracts with a value of $140 million have been signed with the bank's financing. Muratovic also appealed for greater support from the IMF and urged it to appoint a governor for the Bosnian central bank. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] UN TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST BELGRADE WHILE KEEPING ASSETS FROZEN.

    The International Contact Group on 30 September issued a draft resolution calling for the lifting of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, which the Security Council is expected to approve within days, Reuters reported. The resolution said the council would consider reimposing sanctions should the Dayton agreement be broken. Russia would, however, probably veto such a move. The document will not release Yugoslavia's frozen assets because of disputes and claims from other Yugoslav successor states. Also held in abeyance will be Yugoslavia's admittance to the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies from which it was suspended because of its disputed legal status. Following a U.S. initiative, British Foreign Minister Malcolm Rifkind said last week that Western European states have linked Belgrade's re-entry to financial institutions to progress on human rights in Kosovo. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] MILOSEVIC FAMILY TO FORM COALITION IN UPCOMING ELECTIONS.

    Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and his wife Mirjana Markovic's United Yugoslav Left have formed a coalition for the upcoming 3 November federal parliamentary elections in Serbia and Montenegro, AFP reported on 1 October. The New Democracy party also agreed to take part in it. The SPS has a majority in the Serbian parliament but not in the federal one. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] MUSLIM LEADER RETURNS TO SANDZAK.

    Sulejman Ugljanin, president of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak and leader of the Sandzak SDA arrived in Belgrade from Zurich on 30 September, AFP reported. In 1993, Ugljanin left Sandzak--a region divided between Montenegro and Serbia with a large-ethnic Muslim population--in 1993, after authorities arrested a large number of SDA activists and issued a warrant for his arrest. Those arrested were released earlier this year and police gave Ugljanin no problems on his arrival. Ugljanin said he wants "to help the democratization of the country" and would lead a coalition of Muslim parties in the Yugoslav elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [14] ATTEMPT TO BLOCK ROMANIAN-HUNGARIAN TREATY FAILS.

    A last-ditch attempt by Romanian nationalists to delay ratification of a basic treaty with Hungary failed on 30 September, Radio Bucharest reported. The Chamber of Deputies adopted by a 187 to 19 vote its standing bureau's proposal that the treaty be debated this week in emergency procedures. Deputies from the ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) attacked the initiative for procedural reasons, saying it had not been previously approved by the chamber's Legislative Council and Foreign Policy Commission. They threatened to take the case to the Constitutional Court. PUNR Deputy Chairman Ioan Gavra accused the chamber's chairman, Adrian Nastase of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, of forcing the ratification of a "document that has no applicability whatsoever, either now or in the future." -- Dan Ionescu

    [15] U.S. URGES WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA.

    The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on a special resolution demanding that Russia begin withdrawing its troops from Moldova, BASA-Press and Infotag reported on 30 September, quoting a press release from the Moldovan Foreign Ministry. The resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives on 26 September, calls for the fulfillment of a 21 October 1994 Moldovan-Russian agreement that provided for the troops' withdrawal over a three-year period -- an agreement that has never been ratified by the Russian State Duma. -- Zsolt Mato

    [16] BULGARIAN SEEKS EU HELP WITH GRAIN CRISIS.

    The Bulgarian government is seeking EU help to deal with the ongoing grain crisis, international agencies reported. Trade Minister Atanas Paparizov and Agriculture Minister Krastyo Trendafilov told EU ambassadors on 30 September that the country needs 450,000 metric tons of grain and 700,000 tons of fodder, asking for grain shipments and commodity credits under preferential terms to be repaid in three years. Bulgaria is also negotiating with Ukraine and Kazakstan. This year's harvest -- about 1.9 million tons -- is the lowest in 10 years. Bread prices have increased fivefold since the beginning of 1996. Meanwhile, a poll published by Pari and Reuters showed that only 16% of respondents still trust Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's government while 67% consider him incompetent. Some 80% believe the situation will deteriorate in the winter. -- Stefan Krause

    [17] OPPOSITION CANDIDATE FAVORED TO WIN BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    An opinion poll conducted by BBSS Gallup and published in Pari on 1 October showed the presidential candidate of the united opposition, Petar Stoyanov, leading over the candidate of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, Culture Minister Ivan Marazov, with 29% to 18.6% of decided voters. Some 12.4% said they will vote for Georges Ganchev of the Bulgarian Business Bloc, 5.2% named Aleksandar Tomov of the Civic Alliance for the Republic, and 18.2% were undecided. Should a run-off be held, 42.8% were decided to vote for Stoyanov over 27.6% for Marazov. Meanwhile the Supreme Court on 30 September rejected an appeal by former interim Prime Minister Reneta Indzhova against the Central Electoral Commission's decision not to register her for the presidential election. Indzhova implied the decision was politically motivated. -- Stefan Krause

    [18] POLIO CLAIMS ELEVENTH VICTIM IN ALBANIA.

    Over 80 people have been infected with polio in Albania since April, ten of them within the past four days, Republika reported on 1 October. Eleven have died. A massive vaccination campaign of all people up to 50 years old is expected to start this week. UNICEF officials, however, warned that preparations were far from complete and that Albania's medical system and staff could not handle the task, international agencies reported. Polio cases were also reported in neighboring Kosovo. -- Fabian Schmidt

    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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