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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 198, 96-10-11

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 198, 11 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] UN ENVOY MEETS ARDZINBA.
  • [02] RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY CONDEMNS "ANTI-RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN" BY GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT.
  • [03] BAKU-SUPSA PIPELINE TO BE OPERATIONAL BY LATE 1988?
  • [04] TURKMENISTAN CONDEMNS CRITICISM OF TALIBAN.
  • [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER ON TALIBAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] HARASSMENT OF MUSLIM RETURNEES IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.
  • [07] BOSNIAN ROUNDUP.
  • [08] BONN AND BELGRADE AGREE ON RETURN OF REFUGEES.
  • [09] SERBIA AND CROATIA FIGHT OVER ETHNIC MINORITY IDENTITY.
  • [10] UN DOUBTFUL ABOUT DECEMBER ELECTIONS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.
  • [11] CROATIAN JOURNALISTS' ACQUITTAL APPEALED.
  • [12] SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT SAYS ALL EX-YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS SHARE SUCCESSION EQUALLY.
  • [13] MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS PROTEST MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS.
  • [14] ROMANIA'S RESPONSES TO EU QUESTIONNAIRE REVIEWED.
  • [15] DNIESTER FACTORIES MANUFACTURING ARMS.
  • [16] BULGARIAN MEDICAL WORKERS LAUNCH PROTESTS.
  • [17] WORLD BANK TIES LOAN TO CLOSURES OF BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES.
  • [18] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] UN ENVOY MEETS ARDZINBA.

    The UN special envoy for Abkhazia, Eduard Brunner, held talks in Sukhumi on 10 October with Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba, ITAR-TASS reported. Speaking to journalists afterwards, Brunner stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the problem of Abkhazia's future political status vis-a- vis Tbilisi, and of expediting the return of ethnic Georgians who were displaced during the fighting in 1992-1993. Tensions between Tbilisi and Sukhumi have escalated in recent weeks following the decision of the Abkhaz parliament--denounced as illegitimate by the Georgian government--to hold a parliamentary election on 23 November. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY CONDEMNS "ANTI-RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN" BY GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 10 October condemning the Georgian parliament's 2 October resolution calling for a fundamental revision of Georgian-Russian relations, including the scrapping of an agreement on Russian military bases in Georgia, ITAR-TASS reported. The statement rejected what it termed an attempt to question both the expediency of having Russian peacekeepers on the Georgian-Abkhaz border, and Russia's ability to mediate a settlement of the conflict. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] BAKU-SUPSA PIPELINE TO BE OPERATIONAL BY LATE 1988?

    At a meeting in Baku on 9 October with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, Terry Adams, the president of the Azerbaijani International Operating Company, announced that the Baku-Supsa pipeline to export Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea oil by the so-called "Western route" to the Georgian Black Sea coast will be operational "by late 1998," Turan reported. A pipeline construction tender will be announced early next year. On 9 October Adams said the Russian route for early oil will start to be used in August 1997. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] TURKMENISTAN CONDEMNS CRITICISM OF TALIBAN.

    A spokesman at the Turkmen Embassy in Moscow said Ashgabat does not agree with the CIS member states that condemned the Taliban militia at last week's Almaty summit, according to the Journal of Commerce on 10 October. The spokesman said Taliban have offered security guarantees for a projected $2 billion natural gas pipeline that would run from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, in which the U.S. firm UNOCAL and Saudi Arabia's Delta are involved. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER ON TALIBAN.

    One of the leaders of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), Ali Akbar Turajonzoda, played down accusations about UTO connections with Afghanistan's Taliban movement in an 11 October Nezavisimaya gazeta article. Turajonzoda said the UTO was "distressed" at Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed's statement that the Taliban would ally itself with the UTO and move into areas of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. He said that the UTO has a neutral policy to the Afghan conflict, and remarked that "the Afghans have so many internal problems...that planning foreign aggression is simply not serious." -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] HARASSMENT OF MUSLIM RETURNEES IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

    There were numerous explosions of unidentified origin in houses in three formerly Muslim villages now on Bosnian Serb territory on 10 October, BBC reported. The villages are Mumbasic and Stanic Rijeka near Tuzla, and Kordoni near Zvornik, all in northern Bosnia, Reuters added. No injuries or casualties were reported. Tensions have risen along Bosnia's inter-entity border in recent weeks as Muslim refugees seek to return to their homes in the Republika Srpska. They have received a less than warm welcome from the Serbs as well as from IFOR, which views the Muslims as troublemakers. Some 223 Muslims have gone back to Jusici near Zvornik, Onasa stated. They burned a Serbian flag after Bosnian Serb and UN police confiscated weapons from them, Nasa Borba reported on 11 October. Meanwhile, the Muslim Party of Democratic Action in Sarajevo promised to help the residents of Jusici rebuild their homes, Onasa reported on 10 October. The Muslim governing party also plans to open branch offices in the Republika Srpska, where it is the second-largest party in parliament. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] BOSNIAN ROUNDUP.

    The international community's High Representative Carl Bildt said an international military presence will be required in Bosnia for another two years to consolidate peace and deter any new fighting, BBC reported on 10 October. Also in London, the International Contact Group warned the Serbs to stop boycotting the joint presidency lest they lose their share of reconstruction aid. In New York, the UN Security Council protested the lack of progress in investigating the fate of missing persons and singled out the Bosnian Serb authorities as obstructing efforts. At the Laniste cave near Kljuc in western Bosnia, government officials have removed 70 bodies of Muslims believed to have been killed by Serbs on 1 June 1992. Among the gruesome discoveries have been severed heads pierced with nails, news agencies noted. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] BONN AND BELGRADE AGREE ON RETURN OF REFUGEES.

    Germany will send back 135,000 refugees to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia over the next three years, according to an agreement signed by the two countries' interior ministers on 10 October, Reuters reported. Most of the refugees are Kosovar Albanians. German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said the agreement would send a signal to anyone contemplating coming to Germany, adding that "Germany is not a land for immigrants." Both ministers claimed the return would not be connected with German economic aid to Belgrade. The agreement came one day after Bavaria deported the first of 320,000 Bosnian refugees. Also, the state of Berlin said it would start deporting people to Bosnia this month. German human-rights groups accused the government of sending people into unsafe situations and of trying to win votes from the radical nationalist right. In Bonn, several hundred Kosovar Albanian refugees protested outside the Interior Ministry, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [09] SERBIA AND CROATIA FIGHT OVER ETHNIC MINORITY IDENTITY.

    Hido Biscevic, an aide to the Croatian foreign minister, protested Serbian Vice Premier Ratko Markovic's recent statement that Backa Croats, known as Bunjevci, "are neither Croats nor Serbs, but only Bunjevci," and would receive the status of a nation in Serbia, Vjesnik reported on 11 October. Hungarian Croats had earlier protested Markovic's statement that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the "motherland" of Bunjevci living in Hungary. Hungarian Croats issued a statement that the Bunjevci are Croats and of the same origin as Croats in Lika, Croatian Primorje, and Dalmatia, Hina reported on 4 October; they speak Croatian, use the Latin script, and belong to the Roman Catholic Church. According to Hina, Serbian authorities first devised the new national group "Bunjevci" for a 1991 census. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] UN DOUBTFUL ABOUT DECEMBER ELECTIONS IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.

    Croatia's demand for early elections in the last Serb-held enclave in the country probably cannot be met, Derek Boothby, deputy administrator of the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), told Reuters on 10 October. Although Croatian leaders and UNTAES administrator Jacques Klein agreed the area should be reverted to Croatian control by spring 1997, Boothby said conditions for free and fair elections can't be met by 15 December, the election date proposed by the Croatian government. The balloting must be conducted 30 days before the UN mandate ends, which is yet to be decided by the UN Security Council. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] CROATIAN JOURNALISTS' ACQUITTAL APPEALED.

    Croatia's state prosecutor on 10 October appealed against the acquittal of two independent journalists from the satirical weekly Feral Tribune who were charged with defaming President Franjo Tudjman, Reuters and Hina reported. Their acquittal was seen as a boost for press freedom in Croatia, whose acceptance into the Council of Europe was delayed partly due to the government's grip on media. But the state prosecutor has requested the annulment of that verdict, citing errors in the municipal court's proceedings. Meanwhile, the state-run daily Vjesnik ran an article on media freedom on 11 October suggesting the media situation in Croatia is not significantly different than in other Western countries, claiming that "nobody in Croatia so far has suggested a discussion about serious limitations of media freedom." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [12] SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT SAYS ALL EX-YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS SHARE SUCCESSION EQUALLY.

    Milan Kucan told the Montenegrin weekly Monitor that all six former republics have equal claim to the succession of Yugoslavia dating from 1918, Onasa reported on 10 October. He thus challenged Serbia-Montenegro's claim to the sole right of succession under the name Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and hence to the former federation's wealth and assets. Kucan said Slovenia had paid huge sums of money for the Yugoslav People's Army, which were put to "woefully wrongful, unfortunate, and tragic purposes." -- Patrick Moore

    [13] MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS PROTEST MYSTERIOUS POISONINGS.

    Thousands of protesters in Tetovo demanded the resignation of health minister Ilija Filipce on 10 October in connection with alleged poisonings of Albanian children in local schools. The demonstrators also yelled: "Down with the government, down with (President Kiro) Gligorov," Reuters reported. Party for Democratic Prosperity leader Abdurrahman Aliti warned that violence may break out if the alleged culprits are not caught. Within two weeks around 500 ethnic Albanian pupils sought treatment for headaches, upset stomachs, and limb pains, but it remains unclear what was causing the illnesses. Most children recovered after several days of vitamin treatment. Filipce had visited Tetovo on 9 October and said the Vienna Forensic Institute found no signs of poisoning. Police are, however, investigating the possibility. The incident comes at a time of rising tensions in the run-up to local elections on 17 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [14] ROMANIA'S RESPONSES TO EU QUESTIONNAIRE REVIEWED.

    During a 10 October meeting of the EU-Romania Association Council, EU representatives were critical of certain "weak points" in Romania's response to the questionnaire given to all applicants for EU membership, Radio Bucharest reported on 11 October. They nonetheless emphasized that "preparations for joining the union had not been affected, despite the fact that this is an electoral year [in Romania]." There were no signals that the EU was moving toward abolishing visa requirements for Romanian tourists. Also in Brussels, an agreement on setting up a Post-Privatization Fund was signed on 10 October. The fund will be financed by the EU's PHARE program (15 million ECU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (25 million ECU) and will operate for ten years. -- Michael Shafir

    [15] DNIESTER FACTORIES MANUFACTURING ARMS.

    A newspaper in the Dniester breakaway region has confirmed reports that factories there are manufacturing arms, BASA-Press reported on 10 October. Pridnestrovye, the Tiraspol leadership's official newspaper, wrote that the munitions being produced include Grad jet-rocket equipment, claiming it is needed to maintain the balance of forces with Moldova's army. There were earlier reports in the Chisinau press about arms production at the Pribor plant in Tighina, quoting Moldovan representatives to the Joint Control Commission. Moldovan Defense Ministry officials said Pribor produces simplified Grad equipment. -- Zsolt Mato

    [16] BULGARIAN MEDICAL WORKERS LAUNCH PROTESTS.

    The medical workers' organization within the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria began a petition drive demanding Health Minister Mimi Vitkova's resignation for aggravating the impoverishment of medical staff and hospitals in Bulgaria, Trud reported on 11 October. The union, representing thousands of doctors and other medical personnel, also staged protest meetings in Sofia and 11 other towns and hung black banners from the windows of some hospitals. Most medical workers are not paid regularly and receive less than the national average salary of about $70 monthly. For several months patients have had to bring their own bed sheets and food for hospital stays. The Plovdiv hospital recently started charging patients in hard currency in an attempt to avoid closure from lack of funds (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 October 1996). -- Maria Koinova

    [17] WORLD BANK TIES LOAN TO CLOSURES OF BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES.

    The World Bank is likely to approve a major new loan to Bulgaria for balance- of-payments support by the end of year, Pieter Stek, the World Bank's recently appointed executive director responsible for Bulgaria, said in Sofia on 9 October. But Stek stressed the urgency of liquidating the 64 enterprises Bulgaria promised on 15 May to close, Bulgarian media reported. Agriculture Minister Krastyo Trendafilov said legal proceedings were 99% complete at 18 agricultural and food-industry firms on the list, eight of which will be bought by private interests and another four or five of which will have their assets sold off. Industry Minister Lyubomir Dachev said that of the 38 industrial firms on the list, five had been privatized successfully, 10 declared bankrupt, and 14 were subject to a second judicial decision because of problems with the initial method selected for their closure. -- Michael Wyzan

    [18] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE.

    The Central Election Commission decided at a 10 October meeting that the opposition will be allowed to participate in the monitoring of all aspects of the election process, Koha Jone reported. A special envoy for Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said Italy would send 150 election monitors, Albania reported. In other news, the Party of National Unity protested the imprisonment of its leader Idajet Beqiri, calling him a "victim of political revenge," Poli i Qendres reported. Beqiri was sentenced on 28 September for crimes against humanity committed as a judge and communist party leader in the town of Kruja. -- 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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