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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 197, 96-10-10

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 197, 10 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AIOC CHAIRMAN NAMES DATE FOR EXPORT OF FIRST "EARLY OIL."
  • [02] LEZGINS APPEAL TO RUSSIAN, AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENTS.
  • [03] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ARMENIA.
  • [04] KAZAKSTAN'S FIFTH-LARGEST BANK CLOSES.
  • [05] KAZAKSTAN REGISTERS BUMPER GRAIN CROP.
  • [06] UZBEK MEDIA SHOOTS BACK.
  • [07] KYRGYZ INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FAILS TO APPEAR.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] U.S. TROOPS START WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA.
  • [09] MUSLIM REFUGEES CONTINUE CAMPAIGN TO RETURN HOME.
  • [10] BOMBINGS IN MOSTAR.
  • [11] EXHUMATIONS OF WAR VICTIMS IN BOSNIA, CROATIA.
  • [12] NO ADDITIONAL PARTIES IN BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [13] FORMER BANK GOVERNOR RESIGNS FROM SERBIAN OPPOSITION COALITION.
  • [14] BELGRADE TAXI DRIVERS GO ON STRIKE.
  • [15] CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS SPLIT.
  • [16] MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS IN MACEDONIA'S ALBANIAN SCHOOLS.
  • [17] GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS ENTER 'KEY PHASE'
  • [18] ROMANIA REJECTS VOTERS' CARDS.
  • [19] BULGARIAN POLICE SAY WITNESS SAW LUKANOV'S MURDERER.
  • [20] BULGARIAN ETHNIC-TURKISH PARTY SUPPORTS PROTESTS.
  • [21] KOHL RECEIVES BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AIOC CHAIRMAN NAMES DATE FOR EXPORT OF FIRST "EARLY OIL."

    Speaking in Baku on 9 October, Terry Adams, chairman of the Azerbaijani International Operating Committee (which represents the consortium of international oil companies formed to exploit three Caspian oil fields), said that the first oil deliveries from the Chirag field would begin flowing north through Russia to Novorossiisk on 28 August 1997, ITAR-TASS reported. When the consortium signed the "deal of the century" with Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR in October 1994, it was anticipated that the first "early oil" would begin to flow in 1996. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] LEZGINS APPEAL TO RUSSIAN, AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENTS.

    Members of a committee organizing an international conference of the Lezgin people--the ethnic group whose traditional homeland is now divided between Azerbaijan and Dagestan--have called for an immediate dialogue with the Russian and Azerbaijani governments "in order to preclude acts of violence," Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 9 October. They have also appealed to the two countries to alleviate the plight of families prevented from visiting each other by the strict controls currently in force on the Russian-Azerbaijani frontier, and they called on the Azerbaijani leadership to abandon its policy of discrimination against the Lezgin minority. The Congress of the Lezgin People is scheduled to take place in Moscow in January 1997. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN ARMENIA.

    Herve de Charette met with Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan on 9 October for the first-ever visit by a French foreign minister to Armenia, AFP reported. De Charette said his country is ready to help Armenia and Azerbaijan settle their dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. France is a member of a 10-nation OSCE Minsk group involved in seeking peace in the troubled region. Ter- Petrossyan and de Charette also discussed the possibility of boosting France's current 3.5% share in Armenia's foreign trade and French assistance in Armenia's plans to build a new atomic plant. Although defeated presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan expressed a desire to meet with de Charette, it is not clear if the meeting will take place. -- Emil Danielyan

    [04] KAZAKSTAN'S FIFTH-LARGEST BANK CLOSES.

    The National Bank of Kazakstan on 4 October announced the bankruptcy of KRAMDS- Bank and annulled its license, Kazakstani media reported. National Bank Deputy Chairman Grigorii Marchenko said that the bank had a 2 billion tenge ($30 million) negative balance, had violated credit regulations, and had wasted money on the construction of luxury bank offices. The National Bank will fully reimburse individual depositors, though no decision has yet been made about business clients. Among the latter was the capital's major bakery, Almaty-Nan, whose operations were paralyzed by the loss of $500,000 blocked in its KRAMDS account. The bankruptcy echoed in Moscow, where the Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange has frozen all trading operations with tenge, Kazakstan's currency, because its account in KRAMDS-Bank is now blocked as well. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [05] KAZAKSTAN REGISTERS BUMPER GRAIN CROP.

    The Kazakstani Agriculture Ministry announced on 10 October that the country's grain harvest yielded enough "not only to fully meet all the republic's requirements, but also to export large amounts of grain," ITAR-TASS reported. More than 11.5 million metric tons have already been thrashed which is an increase of 1.5 million tons over last year's figure. -- Bruce Pannier

    [06] UZBEK MEDIA SHOOTS BACK.

    Uzbek media has lashed out at what it deems to be the Russian media's recent slanderous coverage of Uzbekistan, RFE/RL reported on 10 October. The usually cautious Uzbek media was responding to a number of articles that appeared in late September in Izvestiya, Nezavisimaya gazeta, and Komsomolskaya pravda pointing to corruption and political repression in Uzbekistan. The Russian press was also charged with wrongly accusing Tashkent of allying itself with Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, to seize territory from Tajikistan. The Uzbek media said the "hostile coverage" was aimed at Russia's efforts to play "big brother" in the region. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [07] KYRGYZ INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FAILS TO APPEAR.

    The most recent edition of Kyrgyzstan's only independent newspaper, Res Publica, was not published by the state publishing house on 9 October, RFE/RL reported. The publishing house, Uchkun, claimed Res Publica has a debt of 10, 000 som (about $800) and so refused to print the edition. The editorial staff of the paper responded that the government daily newspaper Slovo Kyrgyzstana owes 370,000 som (about $30,000) but continues to be printed. Editor in Chief Zamira Sydykova told OMRI in September that the paper frequently has problems with the Uchkun printing house. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] U.S. TROOPS START WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA.

    Some 240 American troops started the official U.S. withdrawal from Bosnia- Herzegovina on 9 October, the first concrete move to ending the one-year mission of the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR), AFP reported. IFOR spokesman Major Simon Haselock said the withdrawal was "technical" in nature, and that there would not be a significant withdrawal until after the municipal elections scheduled for 22-24 November. As these forces withdraw, additional troops will arrive to oversee the complete pullout of the American troops. Some 5,000 soldiers are due to arrive in Bosnia over the next six weeks to join 2,500 soldiers already in place to make up the new cover forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] MUSLIM REFUGEES CONTINUE CAMPAIGN TO RETURN HOME.

    The interior minister of the Republika Srpska, Dragan Kijac, told 100 Muslims who have returned to their homes in Jusici, near Zvornik in the "zone of separation" between the two Bosnian entities, that they now live in the Republika Srpska and must obey its laws. The reaction of the Muslims was mixed, AFP reported on 9 October. The Muslims are conducting a slow but deliberate campaign to go home--as they are entitled to do under the Dayton agreement-- despite the objections of the Serbs and IFOR (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 8 October 1996). Bosnian Radio claims that Bosnian Serb police led by Kijac have staged incidents in the nearby village of Dugi Do against other Muslim returnees, Oslobodjenje reported on 10 October. The paper added that over 3, 000 refugees have gone back to their homes in the border region near Doboj and seek the support of the international community. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] BOMBINGS IN MOSTAR.

    Two explosions occurred in Mostar on 8-9 October, news agencies reported. The first was at a Franciscan monastery that offered aid to all three ethnic communities in the city; the second was at a disused elementary school. Both buildings are just inside the Croatian side of the Croat-Muslim border. The incidents come shortly before the EU's police force is due to leave the town in the hands of local police. -- Patrick Moore

    [11] EXHUMATIONS OF WAR VICTIMS IN BOSNIA, CROATIA.

    International experts were due to give more than 150 bodies exhumed from a mass grave at Cerska, eastern Bosnia, to Bosnian authorities on 8 October, AFP reported. The grave is one of those linked to the massacre of thousands of Muslims from Srebrenica last year. Meanwhile, 200 bodies have been unearthed from a mass grave in Ovcara, Croatia, Vecernji List reported on 8 October. Evidence suggests most of the victims were patients from the Vukovar hospital, executed in 1991 by rebel Croatian Serbs. Croatian authorities suspect there could be more graves in the area because 261 hospital patients went missing. In other news, a Bosnian Serb arrested in Germany in December last year has been charged with genocide for allegedly killing 25 Muslims in Bosnia in summer 1992, international agencies reported. According to the UNHCR, some 14, 000 persons from Bosnia-Herzegovina--the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims--are still classified as missing, news agencies reported on 9 October. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [12] NO ADDITIONAL PARTIES IN BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    The OSCE announced that only those parties registered for the 14 September general elections may take part in the local ballot slated for 22-24 November, Oslobodjenje reported on 10 October. It is still not clear how the OSCE will deal with the crucial issue of voter registration. The OSCE is under pressure from the Clinton administration to declare the electoral process a success, but political manipulation in voter registration--especially by the Serbs--was so blatant as to force the OSCE to postpone the local vote. -- Patrick Moore

    [13] FORMER BANK GOVERNOR RESIGNS FROM SERBIAN OPPOSITION COALITION.

    Dragoslav Avramovic resigned as leader of the Zajedno opposition coalition due to "aggravated health conditions," Nasa Borba reported on 10 October. The 76-year-old former National Bank governor and World Bank economist was considered the glue that joined the four parties comprising Zajedno after seven months of quarreling. His resignation could be a serious blow to the coalition, which according to a recent opinion poll by Vreme had overtaken the ruling coalition of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in popularity, Reuters reported on 9 November. Nasa Borba speculated that the real reasons for Avramovic's resignation are threats to obstruct his daily dialysis treatment, and pressure by Milosevic during a closed-door meeting on 9 October. -- Dukagjin Gorani

    [14] BELGRADE TAXI DRIVERS GO ON STRIKE.

    Taxi drivers went on strike on 9 October demanding tax cuts and cheaper imports of second-hand cars to help them renew their fleet. Police prevented protesters from entering the city center. Serbia has an estimated 20,000 registered taxi drivers, of whom 10,000 work in Belgrade, Reuters reported. Serbian Minister for Private Enterprise Radoje Djukic called the strikers' demands justified. The taxi drivers canceled a general strike last month, but the finance ministry did not deliver on promised tax cuts. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [15] CROATIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS SPLIT.

    Stipe Mesic, president of the Croatian Independent Democrats, suspended his deputy Josip Manolic from his post on 9 October for proposing to solve the dispute over Zagreb's city government by giving the mayorship to the ruling Croatian Democratic Community in return for 80% of city government posts going to the opposition, Slobodna Dalmacija reported. Mesic said such statements were threats to the opposition parties' unity. Manolic had also supported the normalization of relations between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which Mesic opposed. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [16] MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS IN MACEDONIA'S ALBANIAN SCHOOLS.

    Hundreds of pupils have been hospitalized in the Tetovo area in recent days with symptoms of poisoning, MILS reported on 9 October. Most of the pupils were quickly released since examinations did not indicate serious illness, but some returned still complaining of pains. Classes were canceled in some schools. Medical teams began examining the water and other possible sources of poisoning. The ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity claimed the poisonings were deliberate and that the Interior Ministry had suspects in other similar cases. Nova Makedonija, meanwhile, put the blame on people who wanted to create political chaos, noting a similarity to poisonings in Kosovo in March 1990. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [17] GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS ENTER 'KEY PHASE'

    The latest meeting between the Greek and Macedonian UN ambassadors, Christos Zacharakis and Ivan Tosevski, on 7 October in New York prompted Nova Makedonija and the Greek Kathimerini to write on 9 October that talks on Macedonia's name had entered a "key phase." The news agency MILS reported that Zacharakis proposed several composite names including the word Macedonia, such as New Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia--Skopje. Tosevski did not comment on the report. The daily commented that the most Greece could get is that Macedonia would be referred to as New Macedonia in the UN, a second name would be established for internal use, and Greece would chose a third name for bilateral communication. -- Stefan Krause

    [18] ROMANIA REJECTS VOTERS' CARDS.

    Voters in the 3 November elections will use existing IDs rather than new voters' cards, following an 8 October vote of the Chamber of Deputies, Romanian media reported. The Senate had already approved the government proposal. The opposition and foreign experts had long pressed for the use of voters' cards to diminish the possibility of fraud. Earlier, the government had approved use of the cards, but it now claims they cannot be manufactured in time. Meanwhile, the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania criticized a statement by Wim van Velzen, the Dutch president of the European Union of Christian Democrats, who said after a visit that President Ion Iliescu was trying to rig the ballot and that his "manipulations" are "quite brazen," Reuters reported. The statement accused van Velzen of blatantly interfering in the elections and defying "the norms of good manners, politics, and his own country." -- Michael Shafir

    [19] BULGARIAN POLICE SAY WITNESS SAW LUKANOV'S MURDERER.

    National Investigation Service Director Boyko Rashkov announced on 9 October that police interviewed a witness who clearly saw the face of the man who killed former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov, RFE/RL reported. Rashkov said a computer-assisted portrait of the suspect has been completed and will be published soon. Rashkov said investigators think the man was alone when he killed Lukanov on 2 October, but did not comment on whether others are involved directly. -- Stefan Krause

    [20] BULGARIAN ETHNIC-TURKISH PARTY SUPPORTS PROTESTS.

    Ahmed Dogan, chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedom, said after a 9 October meeting with Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB) leader Krastyo Petkov that he supports civic protests against the government, Bulgarian media reported. Petkov said protests will continue during most of the campaign period for the 27 October presidential elections, including a national protest meeting in Sofia on 15 October organized by the KNSB and Bulgaria's other main trade union, Podkrepa. On 8 October, the KNSB called a nationwide one-day strike for 20 November. Plants, offices, schools, and the state administration will strike for 24 hours, while medical doctors, pilots and employees of institutions who by law may not strike will join in "symbolic actions." -- Stefan Krause

    [21] KOHL RECEIVES BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

    The united opposition's presidential candidate, Petar Stoyanov, met on 8 October with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and other officials in Bonn. Kohl was reportedly concerned about Bulgaria's mounting crisis and the slowing of economic reforms. Stoyanov appealed for Germany's support for Bulgaria's speedy admission into the EU. It was the first time Kohl had received a Bulgarian politician since his visit to

    Bulgaria in 1993. -- Maria Koinova

    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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