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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 193, 96-10-04

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 193, 4 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION REJECTS OSCE CRITICISM.
  • [02] ALMATY PREPARES FOR CIS SUMMIT.
  • [03] TAJIKISTAN AKS FOR AID.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] BELGRADE, SARAJEVO ESTABLISH FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.
  • [05] CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PROMISES SUPPORT FOR BANJA LUKA CROATS.
  • [06] BOSNIAN MINERS GIVE UP STRIKE.
  • [07] SWITZERLAND AND FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA AGREE ON RETURN OF KOSOVAR REFUGEES.
  • [08] SERBIAN ARMS FACTORY WORKERS CALL OFF STRIKE.
  • [09] CROATIAN SUPREME COURT RULES ON WAR-CRIMES SUSPECT'S EXTRADITION.
  • [10] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATIES WITH BUDAPEST, BELGRADE.
  • [11] NATO COMMANDER DISCUSSES EXPANSION WITH ILIESCU.
  • [12] NATIONWIDE STRIKE PLANNED IN BULGARIA.
  • [13] BULGARIA STEPS UP SECURITY AFTER LUKANOV MURDER.
  • [14] EU LINKS AID TO BULGARIA WITH AGRICULTURAL REFORM.
  • [15] ALBANIAN TRADE UNIONS ANNOUNCE ONE-DAY STRIKE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION REJECTS OSCE CRITICISM.

    Central Electoral Commission Chairman Khachatour Bezirjian on 3 October rejected as "misleading" the report issued the day before by the OSCE/ODIHR mission that monitored the 22 September presidential election, Reuters and NTV reported. Bezirjian and President Levon Ter-Petrossyan's spokesman Levon Zurabyan both argued that the OSCE report contained mathematical inaccuracies, and that even if the 21,000 ballots that the OSCE said were unaccounted for had all been cast in favor of opposition candidate Vazgen Manukyan, Ter- Petrossyan would still have won more than the 50% voted required to avoid a runoff. The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly Committee for Non- Member States plans to send a delegation to Armenia to assess the post- election situation there, RFE/RL reported on 3 October. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] ALMATY PREPARES FOR CIS SUMMIT.

    On 4 October Russian and Central Asian leaders will gather in Almaty to discuss the implications of the Taliban victories in Afghanistan, along with other issues. Turkmenistan announced that it would not attend the Almaty summit due to its policy of "positive neutrality," Russian and Western media reported on 3 October. Kazakstani Security Council chief Baltash Tursumbayev said Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed has exaggerated the threat posed to Central Asia by Taliban successes in Afghanistan, Nezavisimaya gazeta and RTR reported on 3 October. Tursumbayev termed Lebed's 1 October assertion that the Taliban coveted territory in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, including Bukhara, as "rash and lacking foundation." -- Lowell Bezanis and Bruce Pannier

    [03] TAJIKISTAN AKS FOR AID.

    Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov has requested additional support for his country in light of recent events in Afghanistan and it appears that he will get it, ITAR-TASS reported. The head of the Federal Border Guards Service, Gen. Andrei Nikolaev, says he has already made proposals to the Russian leadership that are scheduled to be discussed at the CIS summit in Almaty. Nikolaev noted that extra measures had already been taken this summer in response to a build up of Tajik opposition forces along the Tajik-Afghan border. Nikolaev called upon Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan to take a more active role in defending this border, pointing out that each country has only 500 men guarding the border while Russia has around 4,500. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] BELGRADE, SARAJEVO ESTABLISH FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS.

    Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic agreed in Paris on 3 October that Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will exchange ambassadors. The two former Yugoslav countries also promised to institute visa-free travel, reestablish communications links, and promote mutual economic relations. They recognized the historic continuity of each other's respective states, while noting that the issue of legal succession to the former Yugoslavia will have to be settled in keeping with international norms and by the agreement of all concerned, Oslobodjenje reported on 4 October. The agreement is peppered with such words as "cooperation" and "friendship" and appears to be yet another step toward normalizing relations in the region. Each side made a major concession in the process: Sarajevo seems to have backed away from pressing Belgrade on charges of genocide stemming from Serbia's role in the Bosnian war, while Belgrade agreed to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbor, thereby implicitly repudiating the idea of a greater Serbia that would include Bosnian territory. Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic promptly issued a communique on 4 October blasting Milosevic as having betrayed the Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia, AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [05] CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PROMISES SUPPORT FOR BANJA LUKA CROATS.

    After institutions of authority are established in line with the Bosnian election results, Croatia will open a consulate in Banja Luka, the Bosnian Serb stronghold in northwestern Bosnia, Mate Granic told Banja Luka's Roman Catholic Bishop Franjo Komarica on 3 October, according to Hina. The bishop stressed the difficult position of Croats in the Serb-controlled town and said Croatia's help was needed. Komarica is the only Catholic bishop who remained in Banja Luka during the four years of war. Meanwhile, Bozo Raic, president of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) in Bosnia, announced the formation of the Bosnian Croat National Community, "a community of the Croats living in Bosnia," Onasa reported on 1 October. Raic said the community will not be a substitute for the self-styled Bosnian Croat para-state of Herceg-Bosna. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [06] BOSNIAN MINERS GIVE UP STRIKE.

    Representatives of some 19,000 miners from all over Bosnia on 3 October rescinded a previous threat to call a general strike, but underscored their unhappiness with temporary solutions to their problems, Oslobodjenje reported. On 2 October, the miners had threatened to strike unless they received their salaries for August and September, Onasa reported. Federation Prime Minister Izudin Kapetanovic promised they would be paid for August by 4 October at the latest, but Sulejman Hrle, head of the Association of Bosnian Trade Unions, said it was a pitiful disgrace that the miners must rally each month to demand their salaries. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [07] SWITZERLAND AND FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA AGREE ON RETURN OF KOSOVAR REFUGEES.

    The Swiss government's decision on 2 October to recognize the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will enable Swiss authorities to expel about 10,000 ethnic Albanian refugees international media reported. The Belgrade government had refused to allow the Albanians to return, but has now agreed to start negotiations with Bern over the return later this month. No date has been set for the return and a UNHCR spokesman urged the Swiss government to be cautious. Another 15,000 refugees from federal Yugoslavia have been either granted temporary residence or have applications pending. In other news, Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said on 3 October that she would not protest the UN's lifting of sanctions against Belgrade, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [08] SERBIAN ARMS FACTORY WORKERS CALL OFF STRIKE.

    Workers at the Kragujevac arms factory decided to return to work on 3 October after a 34-day strike, Nasa Borba reported. The trade unions representing the workers said that all demands had been met, including the complete payment of June, July, and August salaries. The workers will also get extra pay for 1995 and 1996 amounting to 350 dinar ($70). Part of the deal is a 9.74 million dinar ($1.95 million) weapons order by the federal Yugoslav army. Following demands by the workers, the company's director, Lt. Col. Vukasin Filipovic; his deputy Dragan Milosavljevic; and the firm's sales and economic directors have been sacked. Meanwhile, workers at an electronic plant in Nis went on strike. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [09] CROATIAN SUPREME COURT RULES ON WAR-CRIMES SUSPECT'S EXTRADITION.

    The Croatian Supreme Court has ruled that Zlatko Aleksovski, a Bosnian Croat wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, should be extradited to The Hague, AFP reported on 3 October, citing Hina reports. Aleksovski, a member of the Bosnian Croat army, was accused along with four others of slaughtering more than 100 Muslims in the Lasva valley during the Muslim-Croat conflict in 1993. However, another two suspects charged with leading the slaughter, Ivica Rajic and Dario Kordic, are reportedly still at liberty in Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATIES WITH BUDAPEST, BELGRADE.

    The Romanian Chamber of Deputies ratified basic treaties with Hungary and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 3 October, Romanian media reported. The chamber adopted the treaty with Hungary by 159 votes to 1. The main political organization representing Romania's Hungarian minority, the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), abstained, and the ultra- nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM) did not participate in the vote. The treaty with Belgrade passed with only two abstentions. The Senate had previously ratified both treaties. -- Zsolt Mato

    [11] NATO COMMANDER DISCUSSES EXPANSION WITH ILIESCU.

    U.S. Army Gen. George Joulwan, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, discussed NATO's eastward expansion and Romania's prospects for joining the organization with Romanian President Ion Iliescu in Bucharest on 3 October, Romanian and international media reported. Joulwan also met Romania's chief of staff, Gen. Dumitru Cioflina; Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca; and other senior military and civilian officials during his two-day visit to the country. Joulwan stressed the need for closer military relations between Romania and its neighbors as a prerequisite for developing regional cooperation. -- Zsolt Mato

    [12] NATIONWIDE STRIKE PLANNED IN BULGARIA.

    The opposition Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) and trade unions will organize a nationwide strike against the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov immediately after the 27 October presidential elections, Standart reported on 4 October. In late September, trade unions demanded Videnov's resignation (see ). The strike will include teachers and workers in power plants, mines and transportation. Until the strike, trade unions plan to organize civil protests around the country. The SDS promised to support the protests without participating in their organization. Similar strikes and mass protests led to the resignation of then-Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov in 1990, paving the way for the SDS accession to power in 1991. -- Maria Koinova

    [13] BULGARIA STEPS UP SECURITY AFTER LUKANOV MURDER.

    The government approved a proposal by Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev on 3 October to step up security in the wake of former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov's murder, Trud reported. Measures include intensified protection and control of strategic points and buildings. Main streets, important buildings, and "vulnerable objects" in towns will receive special attention. The daily notes, however, that the government had discussed such measures before Lukanov's murder on 2 October. Novinar reported that on 27 September, an explosive device was found in Lukanov's car when he visited his hometown of Pleven. Political scientist Andrey Raychev, a close friend and political ally of Lukanov's, told Kontinent that Lukanov planned to disclose proof of corruption in the highest echelons of power by 20 October. -- Stefan Krause

    [14] EU LINKS AID TO BULGARIA WITH AGRICULTURAL REFORM.

    The EU will help Bulgaria alleviate its ongoing grain crisis if Sofia speeds up agricultural reforms, EU Representative in Bulgaria Thomas O'Sullivan said on 3 October, according to international media. He said Bulgaria could receive supplies for this year through commercial credits negotiated with individual EU member states, while future shortages could be compensated for by EU grants linked to progress in agricultural reforms. Bulgaria had asked the EU for help on 30 September, saying it needs 450,000 metric tons of grain for bread and 700,000 tons of fodder. -- Stefan Krause

    [15] ALBANIAN TRADE UNIONS ANNOUNCE ONE-DAY STRIKE.

    Trade unions announced a 24-hour strike for 4 October, demanding government compensation for rising bread and fuel prices, Reuters reported. Independent Trade Union leader Estref Mersinaj said a one-hour warning strike on 16 September had failed. The government liberalized prices for bread, gas, and fuel in July, triggering a 30% rise in prices. About 200,000 public-sector workers took part in the September protest. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Victor Gomez and Tom Warner
    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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