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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 199, 96-10-14

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 199, 14 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT LIFTS A BAN ON RALLIES AND DEMONSTRATIONS.
  • [02] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN BAKU.
  • [03] RUSTAVI-2 HASSLED OVER COVERAGE OF ADZHAR ELECTION.
  • [04] COMMUNISTS OF KAZAKSTAN GIVE UP IDEA OF REVIVING USSR.
  • [05] A RUSSIAN ASSESSMENT OF UZBEKISTAN'S AFGHAN RESPONSE.
  • [06] TURKMEN-IRANIAN GAS PIPELINE.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] SERBS CONTINUE BOYCOTT OF JOINT BOSNIAN INSTITUTIONS.
  • [08] STANDOFF BETWEEN MUSLIMS, BOSNIAN SERB POLICE.
  • [09] OSCE MONITOR SAYS BOSNIA NOT READY FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [10] SERBIAN NATIONALIST ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
  • [11] ALBANIAN GRAVES DESECRATED IN KOSOVO.
  • [12] CROATIAN AUTHORITIES CLOSE EAST SLAVONIAN MARKET.
  • [13] DIVERGING POLLS ON ROMANIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [14] ROMANIA AND NATO.
  • [15] SNEGUR ON RELATIONS WITH DNIESTER SEPARATISTS.
  • [16] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DEBATE NATIONAL SECURITY.
  • [17] BULGARIAN TOP OFFICIALS' SALARIES FROZEN.
  • [18] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT LIFTS A BAN ON RALLIES AND DEMONSTRATIONS.

    Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan lifted a ban on rallies and demonstrations imposed on 26 September arguing that there is no longer any "direct threat to the constitutional order," Russian and Western media reported on 11 October. The government withdrew its last troops from the capital Yerevan on 11 October. Shavarsh Kocharyan and Samvel Shahinyan, two prominent opposition members, were released from prison on 9 October. Meanwhile, former National Security Minister David Shahnazaryan called for the dismissal of the prime minister and the defense and interior ministers claiming that they are to blame for the tense situation in the country, Radio Rossii reported on 12 October. Hanneke Gelderblom-Iankhout, a member of a Council of Europe delegation visiting Armenia, told AFP that the election was not democratic. The delegation will release its report in November. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN BAKU.

    During a one-day visit to Baku on 11 October, French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette met with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev and Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. The talks focused on France's participation in the Nagorno-Karabakh mediation process, the prospects for French participation in the exploitation of Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea oil deposits, Aliev's scheduled January visit to France, and French support for Azerbaijan's cooperation with the EU and the Council of Europe. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] RUSTAVI-2 HASSLED OVER COVERAGE OF ADZHAR ELECTION.

    Gia Bokeria, chairman of the private Georgian TV company Rustavi-2 which recently had its license revoked by the Georgian government, said on 9 October that security officials confiscated and erased his cameramen's footage of voting during the 22 September parliamentary election in Adzharia, BGI reported. The coalition between Adzhar leader Aslan Abashidze's All-Georgian Union of Revival and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's Union of Citizens of Georgia won an overwhelming majority in the vote. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] COMMUNISTS OF KAZAKSTAN GIVE UP IDEA OF REVIVING USSR.

    Members of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan on 13 October voted to remove a clause from their charter that called for a proletarian dictatorship and the reformation of the USSR, Ekho Moskvy reported. More than 80 delegates form around Kazakstan attended the 24th congress in Almaty, despite the fact that the party is in the process of being re-registered after it was suspended in March by the Kazakstani Justice Ministry. The delegates also moved to create a nationwide Komsomol organization which will hold a congress in early 1997. One party leader said the party has 50,000 members registered in the party, most of them elderly. -- Bruce Pannier

    [05] A RUSSIAN ASSESSMENT OF UZBEKISTAN'S AFGHAN RESPONSE.

    Uzbekistan has moved some of its elite troops to Termez, the military garrison on the border, and has asked its officers not on active duty to reregister, NTV reported on 11 October. According to the report, there is no basis for Uzbekistan's fear of a Taliban invasion, but a defeat of General Rashid Dostum's forces in northern Afghanistan could lead to "crowds of [ethnic Uzbek] refugees" flooding into Uzbekistan. Also, "a victory by the fundamentalists" would have a negative influence on the situation in the Fergana Valley where the Uzbek government has been fighting to keep organized Islamic groups under control. -- Bruce Pannier

    [06] TURKMEN-IRANIAN GAS PIPELINE.

    A ceremony was held on 10 October to mark the start of construction work on the 200 km-long Korpedzhe-Kordkuy gas pipeline, IRNA and Russian media reported the next day. The pipeline deal, announced last year, has an estimated value of $190 million and will be capable of moving 11 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. It is being built by Iran's state gas company. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] SERBS CONTINUE BOYCOTT OF JOINT BOSNIAN INSTITUTIONS.

    The Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, has again refused to sign a loyalty oath to Bosnia-Herzegovina, AFP reported on 12 October. Krajisnik said he objected to any ceremonies taking place in a Sarajevo building associated with the Croat-Muslim federation and that he would only sign on Bosnian Serb territory. He also refused to meet German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel together with the Croatian and Muslim members of the presidency and met the German guest separately instead. Krajisnik, who had earlier declined to come to Sarajevo out of alleged fears for his safety, arrived there on 12 October to talk with Kinkel and U.S. special envoy John Kornblum. The Serbs have engaged in a post-election war of nerves since the first and only meeting of the presidency on 30 September. Krajisnik says he is defending Serbian interests, Nasa Borba reported on 14 October. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] STANDOFF BETWEEN MUSLIMS, BOSNIAN SERB POLICE.

    Another war of nerves is continuing, namely that between the Republika Srpska police and the Muslim refugees who have returned to their homes on Bosnian Serb territory. The RS authorities released three Muslims who had been jailed in Zvornik, Dnevni avaz wrote on 14 October. The police in Jusici over the weekend maintained a tense standoff with Russian IFOR troops -- whom they had threatened on 11 October -- as well as the villagers. Early in the morning of 12 October, an explosion destroyed a Muslim home on the outskirts of the nearby village of Mahala, in an area known as Hajvazi. The Muslims are asserting their right to go back to their homes in keeping with the Dayton agreement, much to the consternation of IFOR and the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] OSCE MONITOR SAYS BOSNIA NOT READY FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    Ed van Thijn, the chief OSCE monitor during Bosnia's September general elections, said he will not accept the same job in November municipal elections because Bosnia is not ready for them, AFP reported on 13 October. Van Thijn said municipal voting should be postponed until spring because voter lists are not reliable and refugees still would not be able to vote where they wish to in November. Municipal elections were postponed from September to November after it was found that Bosnian Serbs were tampering with voter registration. On 12 October, OSCE spokesman David Foley said delaying Bosnia's municipal elections would undermine the peace process. AFP on 11 October quoted Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic threatening: "If the process of forced and illegal repopulation of the Republika Srpska continues, conditions for [holding] local elections will not be reached." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] SERBIAN NATIONALIST ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

    Vojislav Seselj, leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and an accused war criminal, has emerged the strongest advocate of Serbian state expansion ahead of the 3 November federal Yugoslav and Montenegrin republican elections. On the campaign trail in Montenegro on 13 October, Seselj called for "the creation of a unified Serb state [and] the liberation of Serb Krajina, Serb Dubrovnik, Serb Bosnia, and Serb Macedonia," AFP, citing local press, reported. At a rally in Niksic, Seselj said the eventual creation of a greater Serbia would depend heavily on Russia's support, predicting that "Great Russia will lift herself up, she will thunder across Europe and the world, she will return to the Balkans, and when she does, day will dawn for the Serbs." Meanwhile, the independent daily Nasa Borba carried poll results showing the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia, along with its potential coalition partners the United Yugoslav Left and New Democracy, with a 23.7% share of voter support to the Zajedno opposition coalition's 23.9%. According to the 20-26 September poll, 29.7% of voters remain undecided and 14% do not expect to vote. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] ALBANIAN GRAVES DESECRATED IN KOSOVO.

    About 62 Kosovar Albanian graves were desecrated on 11-12 October in five mosques in Pec, AFP reported. Unidentified vandals also reportedly set a fire that destroyed parts of the Hamam Mosque's interior. In other news, Lenny Fischer, chairman of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, said respect for human rights and a political solution for Kosovo are preconditions for economic and political cooperation between Belgrade and the EU, BETA reported on 13 October. -- Dukagjin Gorani

    [12] CROATIAN AUTHORITIES CLOSE EAST SLAVONIAN MARKET.

    Local authorities in the Osijek-Baranja district ruled on 10 October to close down the market on the border between Serb-held eastern Slavonia and Croatian- controlled territory, Vecernji List reported. On 12 October, Croatian authorities began turning back Croats on their way to the market, claiming it was for health and hygiene reasons, AFP reported. Jacques Klein, head of the UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), supported the market as a place where confidence between Serbs and Croats was being rebuilt. UNTAES spokesman Douglas Coffman said the market helped over 45,000 people from both sides to reestablish contacts broken by the war, and that the UN "deeply deplored" the decision to close it down. Meanwhile, UN special human- rights reporter Elisabeth Rehn had talks with Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic on the human-rights situation in the country, AFP reported. Rehn said Croatia had made "positive steps." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [13] DIVERGING POLLS ON ROMANIAN ELECTIONS.

    Emil Constantinescu, candidate of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), for the first time placed first in a poll measuring support for presidential candidates, Romanian media reported on 12 October. The poll, conducted by the Department of Statistics of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies on behalf of the private Antena 1 TV station, puts Constantinescu ahead with 31.6% of the electorate's backing to Social Democratic Union (USD) candidate Petre Roman's 28.2% and incumbent President Ion Iliescu's 24.2%. The poll shows the CDR favored by 39.9% in parliamentary elections, the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) by 20.5%, and the USD by 19.6%. However, another poll conducted by IMAS shows Iliescu ahead in the presidential race with 33%, followed by Constantinescu (27%) and Roman (24%), and gives the CDR only a narrow lead in parliamentary voting (30% to the PDSR's 29%, and the USD with 21%). Media reports suggested the former poll's sampling techniques were questionable. Both elections are scheduled for 3 November. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] ROMANIA AND NATO.

    Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu on 14 October continued the Romanian campaign to convince NATO states that his country should be among the first admitted to NATO. Melescanu is traveling for this purpose to London and Paris, meeting British Foreign Minister Malkom Rifkind and the French Minister for European Affairs, Michel Barnier. On 11 October in Brussels, he met NATO General Secretary Javier Solana, to whom he conveyed a message from President Ion Iliescu, and also conducted talks with his Belgian counterpart, Erik Derycke. Also on 14 October, a new NATO exercise within the Partnership for Peace Program is starting at Bucharest's Otopeni airport. Four NATO countries (the United States, Turkey, Greece, and Italy) as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Moldova are participating in the exercise. Hungary, Slovenia, and Macedonia are sending observers, Radio Bucharest reported. -- Michael Shafir

    [15] SNEGUR ON RELATIONS WITH DNIESTER SEPARATISTS.

    Moldovan President Mircea Snegur told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that separatist leaders in Tiraspol believe they are backed by Russia as well as by "some Moldovan leaders," Radio Bucharest reported on 13 October. Snegur said no compromise can be reached on the breakaway region's status because the separatists constantly raise new demands and Chisinau would never recognize the region as enjoying an independent international status. -- Michael Shafir

    [16] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DEBATE NATIONAL SECURITY.

    The major candidates for the 27 October presidential elections held their first debate on state TV and radio on 10 October. Petar Stoyanov of the united opposition and the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, discussed national security issues. Stoyanov said Bulgaria should join NATO to secure its security interests. Marazov and Bokova said the parliament or the people should decide on that question. Standart reported on 12 October that Stoyanov's appearance met with 28% approval, against 14% for Marazov, while the BSP's Duma claimed in a headline that "Ivan and Irina razed their opponent to the ground." -- Stefan Krause

    [17] BULGARIAN TOP OFFICIALS' SALARIES FROZEN.

    Retroactively from 1 October, salaries of parliamentary deputies, ministers, National Bank directors, and other high officials in the budgetary sphere will no longer be adjusted to compensate for inflation, parliament decided on 11 October. Bulgarian Socialist Party faction leader Krasimir Premyanov said it is intolerable that politicians' salaries grow in times of crisis. The opposition dismissed his proposal as a "cheap populist move" ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. Freezing deputies' stipends had been debated since May. The basic deputy stipend is three times the average salary, or 32, 184 leva ($150) at present. -- Maria Koinova

    [18] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE.

    A Tirana court rejected an appeal by the Center Pole coalition to reduce the minimum age for election monitors to 18, Albania reported on 12 October. The Center Pole had criticized a ruling that Albanian monitors had to be at least 25 years old, while for foreign monitors the minimum age is 22. Meanwhile, an

    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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