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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 194, 96-10-07

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 194, 7 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] EU DELEGATION CANCELS ARMENIA VISIT.
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN'S PARLIAMENT RATIFIES SHAH DENIZ CONTRACT.
  • [03] GEORGIA, EU SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
  • [04] UZBEKISTAN GIVES RUSSIA SANITARIUM.
  • [05] CIS MEETING ON AFGHANISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] BOSNIAN SERBS BOYCOTT PRESIDENCY, PARLIAMENT.
  • [07] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS TO GO AHEAD IN NOVEMBER.
  • [08] CROATS LEAVE INAUGURAL SESSION OF SARAJEVO CANTONAL ASSEMBLY.
  • [09] U.S. ENVOY DISCUSSES UN MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.
  • [10] CROATIA CHARGES YUGOSLAV ARMY CHIEF WITH WAR CRIMES.
  • [11] UN HUMAN RIGHTS ENVOY VISITS KOSOVO.
  • [12] BELGRADE-SKOPJE ELIMINATE TARIFFS ON MUTUAL TRADE.
  • [13] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS UPDATE.
  • [14] UPDATE ON TALKS BETWEEN BULGARIA, IMF, WORLD BANK.
  • [15] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON TV.
  • [16] GENERAL STRIKE IN ALBANIA.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] EU DELEGATION CANCELS ARMENIA VISIT.

    An EU delegation has canceled its scheduled trip to Armenia due to "security concerns" following last month's Armenian presidential election, the head of the EU Transcaucasus and Central Asia Department, Fokion Fotiadis, told Reuters on 5 October. Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Lenser Aghalovyan and Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union leader Aghasi Arshakyan have been released from custody, according to Noyan Tapan. They were detained in Yerevan after the 25 September attack on the parliament building. Ayzhm, the newspaper of defeated presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan's National Democratic Union, resumed publication on 4 October, presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan told OMRI the same day. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] AZERBAIJAN'S PARLIAMENT RATIFIES SHAH DENIZ CONTRACT.

    Azerbaijan's Milli Mejlis on 4 October finally ratified the contract signed in early June between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and a consortium consisting of Russia's LUKoil, BP, Norway's Statoil, Turkey's TPAO, Elf Aquitaine, and the National Iranian Oil Company, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. Shah Deniz contains an estimated 500 billion cubic meters of gas, 190 million metric tons of oil, and 200 million metric tons of gas condensate. Seven opposition deputies from the Azerbaijani Popular Front and Azerbaijani Party of National Independence argued unsuccessfully against ratifying the deal until a more detailed discussion can be held on the contract. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] GEORGIA, EU SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT.

    Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili and the head of a 15-person EU delegation signed an interim trade agreement on 4 October, Reuters reported. Delegation head Francois Lamoureux said that talks with the Georgian government had also focused on a $2.5 million assistance package aimed at helping Georgia prepare for WTO membership. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] UZBEKISTAN GIVES RUSSIA SANITARIUM.

    Uzbekistan is to hand over a sanitarium on the Black Sea to Russia as payment for part of its debts to that country, ORT reported on 4 October. The 500-bed sanitarium in Sochi is worth an estimated 16.6 billion rubles ($3 million) and will be used by the Russian Interior Ministry. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] CIS MEETING ON AFGHANISTAN.

    Strong words were used at a 4 October meeting in Almaty of the presidents of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in discussion of the situation in Afghanistan. However, the participants seemed to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward the Afghan conflict. Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed concern that the conflict is approaching the CIS border, and condemned the human rights violations that followed the Taliban ascension to power, ORT reported. But Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev claimed it would be a mistake to repeat the Soviet experience by interfering directly in Afghan internal affairs. Uzbek President Islam Karimov's motion calling for open support of General Abdurrashid Dostum forces in northern Afghanistan was voted down. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] BOSNIAN SERBS BOYCOTT PRESIDENCY, PARLIAMENT.

    Representatives from Pale failed to attend the opening of the new all-Bosnian legislature and a session of the three-man presidency in Sarajevo on 5 October, Oslobodjenje reported. Serbian presidency member Momcilo Krajisnik said that he feared for the Serbs' safety, but it also appears that he was unwilling to take the loyalty oath to Bosnia-Herzegovina that was administered at the session. The Bosnian Serb leadership was also probably still angry that the Muslim presidency member and current presidency chair, Alija Izetbegovic, agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Belgrade last week without consulting Pale. Krajisnik denied that he and the others had staged a boycott but instead stressed the safety issue and added that the Serbs are ready to participate in joint institutions. International officials have protested to Pale, but it is not clear who has the next move in the ongoing chess game. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS TO GO AHEAD IN NOVEMBER.

    The OSCE's supervisor of the Bosnian elections, U.S. diplomat Robert Frowick, said on 4 October that the vote for local officials will go ahead on 22-24 November. It is not clear what he intends to do about the extensive political engineering that had been involved in the voter registration process and forced the postponement of the local ballot from the original 14 September date. Frowick said that he wants the elections to take place before the international military presence is reduced or withdrawn, the BBC noted. But critics claim that he is under strong political pressure from the Clinton administration to wind things up as quickly as possible, so that the president can claim to the U.S. electorate that things are proceeding on schedule. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] CROATS LEAVE INAUGURAL SESSION OF SARAJEVO CANTONAL ASSEMBLY.

    Members of the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) staged a walkout on 5 October at the first meeting of a lower-level parliament body to protest their lack of power in the Muslim-dominated assembly, AFP reported. Deputies of the assembly representing the HDZ arrived in the municipal center building but then walked out before taking the oath. In the 14 September Bosnian vote for Sarajevo's cantonal assembly, the HDZ won only 6%, while the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) won 59% of the vote. But although Sarajevan Croats did not vote for it, the HDZ wants one-third of the power in the Sarajevo canton, Oslobodjenje reported on 7 October. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] U.S. ENVOY DISCUSSES UN MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.

    UN spokesman Douglas Coffman said that John Kornblum arrived in eastern Slavonia on 4 October to meet Jacques Klein, head of the UN administration of the region, to discuss the possibility of extending the mandate of UN troops in the last Serb-held region of Croatia, AFP reported. Coffman said that Kornblum came to show U.S. support for the reintegration process of eastern Slavonia to Croatia -- which is due after the UN mandate in the region expires -- but he also discussed the possibility of extending the mandate. The Serbs in the area want that UN mandate extended, while Croats want the troops to leave. According to the state-run Hina news agency, Kornblum met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and expressed hope that the UN mandate would end successfully. Tudjman repeated that the reintegration should be completed by 15 January. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] CROATIA CHARGES YUGOSLAV ARMY CHIEF WITH WAR CRIMES.

    Croatian prosecutors have charged Momcilo Perisic, the current Yugoslav army chief of staff, with war crimes when he was a colonel in the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), AFP reported on 5 October, quoting a Slobodna Dalmacija report. The prosecutor in the town of Zadar indicted Perisic along with eight other former JNA officers for having ordered and carried out attacks against civilian targets in Zadar and the surrounding region in August and September 1991. They are charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and for having violated international war conventions. In other news, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on 4 October announced that the trial of Bosnian Croat General Tihomil Blaskic, charged of massacring Bosnian Muslim civilians, has been set for 8 January, AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] UN HUMAN RIGHTS ENVOY VISITS KOSOVO.

    Elisabeth Rehn met with the Serbian prefect in Kosovo, Aleksa Jokic, and Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova on 6 October, AFP reported. She urged the opening of UN and EU offices in Pristina and discussed with Rugova the idea of an international administration. Rehn, however, said it was only one of many proposals. She also met human rights activist Adem Demaci. With Jokic she discussed the education crisis in the region. Despite a previous agreement between Rugova and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, some 200 schools still operate in private homes. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] BELGRADE-SKOPJE ELIMINATE TARIFFS ON MUTUAL TRADE.

    In accordance with an agreement signed in Skopje on 4 September between the Macedonian and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's premiers, all tariffs on goods traded between the two countries were eliminated on 7 October, Nova Makedonija reported. A uniform 1% registration fee will replace variable customs fees ranging up to 7.5%. However, quantitative restrictions on certain exports and imports remain, although Skopje and Belgrade have agreed not to introduce new ones. Macedonia continues to restrict importation of pork, milk, cheese, tobacco, ferrous metals, refrigerators, buses, and oil products, while federal Yugoslavia restricts exports of livestock, sugar, oil seeds, and leather. The trade liberalization is expected to increase bilateral trade turnover. The two sides intend to establish a free-trade zone by 1999. -- Michael Wyzan

    [13] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS UPDATE.

    The Central Electoral Bureau announced on 3 October that sixteen candidates had registered for the presidential elections due to be held on 3 November, Radio Bucharest announced on 4 October. The bureau did not specify how many parties will be competing in the parliamentary elections, to be held concurrently with the presidential election. Registration for running in the elections was closed on 3 October. Among those running for the highest office are a faith healer and two former court poets of executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The three top candidates are incumbent President Ion Iliescu, the candidate of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania; Emil Constantinescu, the chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania; and Petre Roman, former prime minister between 1990 and 1991 and the candidate of the Social Democratic Union. -- Zsolt Mato and Michael Shafir

    [14] UPDATE ON TALKS BETWEEN BULGARIA, IMF, WORLD BANK.

    Bulgarian National Bank Governor Lyubomir Filipov said on 5 October that Bulgaria will receive the second installment of an IMF standby loan, the daily Duma reported on 7 October. Filipov said the $116 million installment will be disbursed in November at the earliest. At the end of October, an IMF mission will visit Bulgaria for a review of implementation of economic reforms. But Standart reported that the IMF on 4 October decided not to disburse the installment until 15 big state firms are sold. It added that Bulgaria will not receive a World Bank structural-reform loan until progress is made in mass privatization. The same report notes that the IMF only agreed to give Bulgaria a $35-50 million loan for urgent grain purchases. Standart noted that the government did not meet its obligations and that "in practice there is no structural reform." -- Stefan Krause

    [15] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON TV.

    The 13 presidential candidates gave short addresses on state television on 5-6 October. Culture Minister Ivan Marazov, candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, said voters on 27 October will determine what Bulgaria's future will look like. Marazov blamed politicians for creating tension and said the killing of former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov should "unite the nation." The united opposition's Petar Stoyanov said Bulgaria must chose between "national irresponsibility and catastrophe and the change of political and economic realities." He said he will strengthen the president's position vis-a-vis the government. In other news, Standart reported on 7 October that Lukanov had put together a new government list, planning to oust Prime Minister Zhan Videnov after the presidential elections. He reportedly named Interior Minister Nikolay Dobrev as Videnov's successor. Former President and Communist Party leader Petar Mladenov, however, dismissed the report. -- Stefan Krause

    [16] GENERAL STRIKE IN ALBANIA.

    The Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) held a one-day general strike in Albania on 4 October, Dita Informacion reported on October 5. The trade unions demanded compensation for recent price hikes of bread and fuel. Dita Informacion points out that the protest was directed mainly against Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi's government, although "all of the relevant economic measures ... had the blessing of President [Sali] Berisha." Dita Informacion surmises that Berisha may sacrifice Meksi as a scapegoat to decrease social tensions in the country, adding that Berisha is interested in maintaining good relations with the trade unions and recently sponsored and addressed the BSPSH congress. -- Dukagjin Gorani

    Compiled by Victor Gomez and Pete Baumgartner
    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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