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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 196, 96-10-09

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 196, 9 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN "COUP" TRIALS POSTPONED.
  • [03] KITOVANI SENTENCED.
  • [04] NAZARBAYEV SEES LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL.
  • [05] MAYLI-SUU CLEANUP PLANNED.
  • [06] PAKISTANI ENVOY IN TURKMENISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] EASTERN SLAVONIA UNDER CROATIAN ADMINISTRATION IN EARLY SPRING.
  • [08] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER READY TO COOPERATE?
  • [09] BOSNIAN SERB UPDATE.
  • [10] FIRST TRAINING CENTER FOR MUSLIM-CROAT ARMY OPENS.
  • [11] THE "OTHER SERBIA" ADDRESSES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.
  • [12] POLL SHOWS SNEGUR AHEAD IN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.
  • [13] UPDATE ON BULGARIAN "CREDIT MILLIONAIRES."
  • [14] MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS BELGRADE.
  • [15] ALBANIAN RIGHT FORMS COALITION BEFORE ZOGU'S 101 BIRTHDAY.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

    Ruben Hakobyan, the only parliamentary deputy for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun party, was beaten and seriously injured after his arrest on 26 September by a group of men that included Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan, Noyan Tapan and Groong reported on 8 October, citing Hakobyan's defense attorney, Tigran Janoyan. Janoyan also said he has not been allowed to meet with his client since 30 September. He described the official charges against Hakobyan and other opposition members arrested following the 25 September attack on the parliament building in Yerevan as "absurd" and "politically motivated." -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] AZERBAIJAN "COUP" TRIALS POSTPONED.

    Azerbaijan's Supreme Court has again postponed the trial of some 37 members of the OPON special police charged with treason in connection with the March 1995 standoff between the OPON and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, because the defense lawyers of some of those accused are not yet familiar with the case, ITAR-TASS and Turan reported on 8 October. The Supreme Court will, however, proceed with the trial of two former Azerbaijani generals charged with plotting to shoot down President Heidar Aliev's plane in the summer of 1995. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] KITOVANI SENTENCED.

    Former Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani was sentenced on 8 October to eight years in prison on charges of organizing an illegal armed formation and of unlawful possession of weapons, Reuters and Russian TV (RTR) reported. Kitovani was arrested in January 1995, when he and former Prime Minister Tengiz Sigua attempted to launch a military campaign to bring the breakaway region of Abkhazia back under Tbilisi's jurisdiction. Valerii Fisyun and former Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Irakli Surguladze, charged together with Kitovani, were sentenced to six and two years in prison, respectively. Kitovani denounced the court proceedings as a show trial staged by Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in order to neutralize a political opponent. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] NAZARBAYEV SEES LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL.

    Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev told a national television audience on 7 October that the country is emerging from its economic crisis, according to a Kazakstani TV report monitored by the BBC. In the address, which was published in Kazakhstanskaya pravda the next day, Nazarbayev said that privatization and financial and industrial reforms would be completed by early 1998. He also said he wanted annual inflation cut in half by the end of the decade. Inflation has dropped from 2,200% in 1993 to a predicted 30% for 1996, Reuters reported on 8 October. Nazarbayev promised to press the government to pay overdue wages and pensions. The Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakstan and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Kazakstan still plan to hold demonstrations over that issue next week. -- Bruce Pannier

    [05] MAYLI-SUU CLEANUP PLANNED.

    Kyrgyz and Uzbek environmental agencies have agreed to cooperate to reduce the danger at more than 20 radioactive waste sites near the Kyrgyz town of Mayli- Suu, according to a report in Aziya- Ekonomika i zhizn [No. 40] monitored by the BBC. Successive heavy rains and mudslides have meant that the dump sites may be contaminating the Mayli-Suu River and through it various canals that irrigate the Ferghana Valley. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [06] PAKISTANI ENVOY IN TURKMENISTAN.

    Following talks between a special envoy from Pakistan, Ijlal Haider Zaidi, and Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov on 7 October both sides agreed on the preservation of Afghanistan's territorial integrity and noninterference in its internal affairs, Turkmen and Russian media reported. Zaidi's visit to Ashgabat was presumably intended to reassure Turkmenistan about Pakistan's intentions and to suggest that Taliban does not pose a security threat to Afghanistan's neighbors. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] EASTERN SLAVONIA UNDER CROATIAN ADMINISTRATION IN EARLY SPRING.

    Jacques Klein, the UN transitional administrator for eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-held area in Croatia, said on 8 October he hoped the disputed area would return under the Croatian authority administration in spring next year at the latest, Hina reported. "Our aim is next spring and then terminate the mandate by early summer," Klein said after a meeting with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, adding he always considered the six-month extension of the UNTAES mandate as reasonable. Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Kostovic said the Croatian government would cooperate with UNTAES and fulfill its financial obligations until the spring, while expecting the UN forces to enable the repatriation of displaced persons to the villages included in the return pilot-project. Klein said he wished elections in eastern Slavonia to "take place as soon as possible" on the basis of pre-war lists of registered voters. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER READY TO COOPERATE?

    The Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, said he is ready to take part in joint institutions with the Muslims and the Croats, Nasa Borba reported on 9 October. He added that he is willing to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Bosnian Constitution and recommend to the Bosnian Serbs elected to the joint legislature that they do the same. Krajisnik maintained that he did not attend the opening session of the presidency and legislature in Sarajevo purely out of concern for the Serbs' safety and not for political reasons, a point that many observers would dispute (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 8 October 1996). He called for a new ceremony to be held in the Republika Srpska and he added that it is now up to the international community's High Representative, Carl Bildt, to make the next move. Oslobodjenje pointed out that Serbian participation will be necessary for the legislature to function legally. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] BOSNIAN SERB UPDATE.

    The government of the Republika Srpska (RS) met in Pale and called for special relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia, and Montenegro, as is allowed by the Dayton agreement. The government also wants to close the refugee centers in Zvornik, Bratunac, and Visegrad, Nasa Borba reported on 9 October. Meanwhile in Mostar, a delegation of ethnic Serb refugees arrived from Belgrade to discuss plans for their permanent return to their hometown. On Mt. Jahorina, the opening session of the new Academy of Sciences of the Republika Srpska is slated for 11 October. There will be a four-person Executive Committee and Presidency, which will include the historian and nationalist ideologue, Milorad Ekmecic. Meanwhile, near the "zone of separation" between the two entities, RS police will patrol jointly with their UN counterparts in three villages near Zvornik. Muslim refugees have begun returning to their homes in the area as they are allowed to do under the Dayton agreement, much to the consternation of IFOR and the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] FIRST TRAINING CENTER FOR MUSLIM-CROAT ARMY OPENS.

    Military Professional Resources Inc., a company run by retired U.S. Army generals, opened the first military training center on 7 October for the joint Muslim-Croat Army in Pazaric, south of Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje reported. The opening ceremony was attended by Defense Minister Vladimir Soljic, a Bosnian Croat, and his Muslim deputy Hasan Cengic. Gen. Rasim Delic, who will command the joint forces, said: "From this moment, I am not a general without an army, " while his Croat deputy, Gen.-Col. Zivko Budimir said the center might well become the future Bosnian Military Academy. The $400 million U.S.- sponsored program is aimed at establishing a balance between the federal army and Bosnian Serb forces. It also intends to help merge Muslims and Croats into a united force under civilian control. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] THE "OTHER SERBIA" ADDRESSES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.

    Leaders of the opposition Zajedno coalition parties addressed the European Parliament on 8 October, Nasa Borba reported. Vuk Draskovic from the Serbian Renewal Movement, Zoran Djindjic from the Democratic Party and Vesna Pesic from the Citizen's Union, presented their platform to European legislators. They said their coalition represented a democratic and pro-European Serbia and pointed out it was the first time that representatives of the "other Serbia" were invited to Brussels. They stressed that only establishing democratic institutions and a state based on the rule of law can bring about peaceful solutions to pending problems in the region, such as the Kosovo dispute. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] POLL SHOWS SNEGUR AHEAD IN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.

    A public opinion poll conducted by the Moldova Moderna Research Center jointly with the Russian-German Sinus Institute of Sociological Research shows incumbent President Mircea Snegur is backed by 34.3% of the voters. Presidential elections are scheduled for 17 November. According to BASA-press, second after Snegur is parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinschi with 22%. Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli is backed by only 6.9%. The other candidates registered even less support than Sangheli. -- Michael Shafir

    [13] UPDATE ON BULGARIAN "CREDIT MILLIONAIRES."

    The government's intention to publish a list of "credit millionaires"--people who took big bank loans and did not repay them--before the 27 October presidential elections continues to stir political controversy. Standart on 9 October reported that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is preparing amendments to the banking law after Bulgarian National Bank officials said the publication would contravene present legislation. Some bankers have objected to the publication, saying it could result in "an action to settle political and business accounts," Trud reported. Union of Democratic Forces caucus leader Yordan Sokolov said that if such a list already exists, it indeed violates current legislation. BSP faction leader Krasimir Premyanov said he had not seen the list, but was sure that no BSP deputies were on the list, since "BSP party and [faction] statutes bar [them] from...such activities." -- Stefan Krause

    [14] MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS BELGRADE.

    Blagoje Handziski met with his federal Yugoslav counterpart, Pavle Bulatovic, in Nis on 8 October, Nasa Borba reported. The defense ministers were accompanied by high-ranking military delegations. Both sides agreed to quickly resolve open border disputes and to open mutual military representation offices in the respective capitals as a first step towards deepening military cooperation. They also agreed on the exchange of documents concerning the pensions of Yugoslav Peoples Army officers. MILS, however, indicated that the sides also discussed a Macedonian request for federal Yugoslav military equipment, which Belgrade is obliged to destroy following the Dayton agreement. Serbian capacities for arms destruction are limited to one factory in Smederevo and observers doubt that Belgrade will be able to fulfill its obligations, BETA reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [15] ALBANIAN RIGHT FORMS COALITION BEFORE ZOGU'S 101 BIRTHDAY.

    The National Front party and the Legality movement, celebrated King Ahmet Zogu's 101st birthday on 7 October by forming a coalition for the upcoming local elections, Koha Jone reported. During a rally in Shkoder, the head of a former landowners association denounced Albanian President Sali Berisha as a "communist," while the head of the local Association of the Politically Persecuted charged the Democrats with planning election fraud. In other news, the Center Pole coalition sent a protest letter to the German embassy condemning the participation of German Christian Democratic party officials in the election campaign in support of the Democratic Party as a violation of the electoral law. Dita Informacion on 10 October pointed out that this could be punishable by up to three years in prison. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Chrystyna Lapychak and Victor Gomez
    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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