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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 201, 96-10-16

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 201, 16 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS CRITICIZE ARMENIAN ELECTION.
  • [02] SHEVARDNADZE MEETS WITH DIRECTOR OF WORLD BANK.
  • [03] NEW AZERBAIJANI OIL CONSORTIUM CREATED.
  • [04] MIXED RETURNS ON UZBEK HARVESTS.
  • [05] IRAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ALMATY.
  • [06] PROTESTERS SURROUND KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT BUILDING.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] CROATIA REPORTEDLY ADMITTED TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE.
  • [08] NEW AGREEMENT ON BOSNIAN REFUGEE RETURN.
  • [09] BOSNIAN BUS DELAYED AT SERBIAN BORDER.
  • [10] NATO WARNS CROATIA OVER BOSNIAN PEACE.
  • [11] LITTLE HEADWAY IN TALKS ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA'S ASSETS.
  • [12] MORE WARRANTS ISSUED FOR SUSPECTED KOSOVAR TERRORISTS.
  • [13] ANTI-SEMITIC TONES IN THE ROMANIAN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN.
  • [14] OSCE REPRESENTATIVES NOT ALLOWED TO CHECK ARMS IN DNIESTER REGION.
  • [15] RUMORS ABOUT BULGARIAN COALITION GOVERNMENT INTENSIFY.
  • [16] PROTESTERS DEMAND BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION.
  • [17] ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSED IN $5 MILLION SCANDAL.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS CRITICIZE ARMENIAN ELECTION.

    The U.S.-based International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), an international election observer group, issued a report on Armenia's 22 September presidential election, citing numerous irregularities and describing the ballot as "flawed," Reuters reported on 15 October. IFES urged the Armenian government to investigate the irregularities. IFES is the second international organization after the OSCE to question the election results. Meanwhile, Armenian presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan acknowledged "numerous shortcomings" in the election process and said the authorities will "punish the guilty," Noyan Tapan reported on 15 October. Paruyr Hayrikyan, one of the leaders of the opposition National Accord bloc, said the opposition plans to resume its protest rallies on 18 October, RFE/RL reported. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] SHEVARDNADZE MEETS WITH DIRECTOR OF WORLD BANK.

    Meeting in Tbilisi on 15 October with the managing director of the World Bank, Peter Steck, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said that the World Bank's backing for reforms in his country "guarantees political and economic stability," ITAR-TASS reported. Steck praised the Georgian leadership's "correct and constructive economic policy." -- Liz Fuller

    [03] NEW AZERBAIJANI OIL CONSORTIUM CREATED.

    Representatives of the British company Ramco, Mobil, and Total have formed a consortium to carry out exploratory work in the southern Caspian Sea, Turan reported on 15 October. Representatives of the three constituent companies have held talks in Baku with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev and the head of Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] MIXED RETURNS ON UZBEK HARVESTS.

    The Uzbek government announced that grain harvests are well below expectations for the second year in a row, according to an 8 October Uzbek Radio report monitored by the BBC. The 1996 harvest currently stands at 2,669,000 metric tons, well below the target figure of 4.5 million tons. Only seven regions were able to meet their quotas, with the rest blaming poor irrigation, bad weather, and a lack of fertilizer for the shortfalls. At the same time, the Central Council of the People's Democratic Party called on Uzbek citizens to participate in the cotton harvest, which is expected to be higher than last year (see ). Regional party leaders are even offering prizes for the most "active" volunteer--a practice reminiscent of the Soviet era--Golos Uzbekistana reported on 11 October. -- Roger Kangas

    [05] IRAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ALMATY.

    Ali Akbar Velayati went to Kazakstan on 15 October where he discussed the situation in Afghanistan with his Kazakstani counterpart, Kasyzhomart Tokaev, Kazakstani media reported. The two ministers issued a call for a special emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the Afghan situation, AFP reported. Analysts suggest that an additional hidden motive for the meeting was to coordinate positions on the status of the Caspian Sea, in view of an upcoming international meeting on the issue. The Caspian littoral states disagree over how to divide access to the sea and its resources: Iran and Kazakstan disagree with Russia's wish to define it as an lake, whose resources must be shared. Velayati also met Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev in Bishkek on 15 October and traveled on to the Tajik capital Dushanbe on 16 October. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [06] PROTESTERS SURROUND KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT BUILDING.

    A crowd of about 1,500 people demonstrated in front of the Kyrgyz government building in Bishkek on 15 October, RFE/RL reported. The demonstrators were protesting rising costs and declining living standards. Some in the crowd claimed their monthly wage was 150-200 som ($12-18) and their monthly gas bill alone was 500-700 som. Officials from the government met briefly with leaders of the demonstration, organized by the unregistered Citizen's Council, and were handed a letter of demands signed by more than 4,000 people. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] CROATIA REPORTEDLY ADMITTED TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE.

    Reuters on 16 October quoted diplomats at the Council of Europe saying that body's Council of Ministers had voted to admit Croatia. That country is now slated to become the 40th member of the Strasbourg-based organization on 6 November. Croatia's admission has been delayed over concerns about press freedom, minority rights, democracy, and Croatia's role in the Bosnian peace process. The Council now apparently feels that Zagreb has made sufficient progress on most of these fronts to justify approval. Recent weeks have seen a judge throw out a government-backed slander suit against critical journalists (although the state prosecutor has appealed that ruling), and the passing of an amnesty law for Serbs who took up arms against Croatia but did not commit war crimes. The organization's delay in accepting Croatia angered not only the government but also many in the opposition, who charged that Croatia was being forced to meet tougher standards than were some other countries. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] NEW AGREEMENT ON BOSNIAN REFUGEE RETURN.

    A plan put forward by international mediators to enable refugees to go back to their homes in areas now controlled by another ethnic group was accepted by the interior ministers of the Croat-Muslim federation and the Republika Srpska in Sarajevo on 15 October. Prospective returnees will now have to apply to the UNHCR, after which other organizations will determine whether the applicant indeed has property in the area. The returnees must be civilians and will have to accept the authority of the side now in control of the area. There will be financial aid for reconstruction and provisions for UN police to supervise local police when the latter send out patrols of more than three men, Oslobodjenje and news agencies reported. The new measures are aimed at preventing unnecessary tensions from arising when refugees try to go home, while at the same time ensuring their right to do so. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] BOSNIAN BUS DELAYED AT SERBIAN BORDER.

    A regular bus link between Sarajevo and Belgrade began operating on 14 October, with the first Serbian bus safely arriving in Sarajevo. But two Bosnian buses making the first Sarajevo-Belgrade run in four years arrived in Belgrade on 15 October only after being blocked for six hours by Serbian border police, international agencies reported. The buses left Sarajevo for the inaugural trip of the new intercity service, seen as a move toward normalization between the two capitals. Passengers said Serbian police demanded they pay $40 for tourist visas, although visa-free travel between the two countries was agreed on at the recent Paris meeting between Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Reuters reported. They also said that military conscripts could not enter the country, only women and children. The bus was allowed to continue only after telephone calls to various ministries in Sarajevo and Belgrade. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [10] NATO WARNS CROATIA OVER BOSNIAN PEACE.

    During a 15 October meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana warned Croatia to fully back implementation of the Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia and the normalization of the situation in Mostar, according to a NATO official cited by AFP. Solana also stressed the importance of establishing a common army for the federation and a return of refugees, and complained of Croatia's stiff taxes on military vehicles and material crossing its territory, international and local agencies reported. Matesa said Solana supported Croatia's plan for the peaceful reintegration of eastern Slavonia, Hina reported. But the NATO official cited by AFP said Solana made a "very firm" warning to the Croatian government not to provoke an exodus of Serbs. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] LITTLE HEADWAY IN TALKS ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA'S ASSETS.

    The latest round of talks on the division of the former Yugoslavia's assets and debts began behind closed doors in Brussels on 14 October, but made little or no headway, Nasa Borba reported on 16 October. In a related development, the Bosnian Serb leadership launched a protest on 14 October complaining about being excluded from the discussions, SRNA reported. Momcilo Krajisnik, Serb representative in the Bosnian collective presidency, said "Muslim representatives" were not empowered to speak for all parties in Bosnia, AFP reported. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] MORE WARRANTS ISSUED FOR SUSPECTED KOSOVAR TERRORISTS.

    The state prosecutor's office has issued 12 more arrest warrants for suspected members of the mysterious Kosovo Liberation Army, international agencies reported. The ethnic Albanians are suspected of committing a number of bomb attacks earlier this year. Three suspects have been arrested recently. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi called on Germany to ensure "the rights and dignity of ... Albanians [to be expelled to Kosovo from Germany] be respected," AFP reported. Shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova has called for international supervision of the refugees' return. The Serbian paper Jedinstvo, meanwhile, alleged that Albanian terrorists, trained by separatist organizations abroad, would infiltrate Kosovo during the refugee return. The paper demanded detailed identity checks and selective repatriation "in order to prevent our country admitting ... enemies." -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] ANTI-SEMITIC TONES IN THE ROMANIAN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN.

    Anti-Semitic leaflets targeting Social Democratic Union (USD) presidential candidate Petre Roman were discovered at the USD head office in Timis county, the daily Cronica Romana reported on 16 October. The leaflets call on voters not to allow the country to be led by "a kike." Earlier, graffiti urging voters not to cast their ballot for a "first non-Romanian president" were reported from Brasov. Roman, who is partly of Jewish descent and is the son of a former communist official, was also obliquely attacked by the director of the electoral campaign of the ruling Party of Social Democracy (PDSR) in Romania, Ovidiu Sincai, the daily Adevarul reported. He accused the candidate's father, Valter Roman, of having intended to set up an independent state in Transylvania. This falls in line with allegations that Roman represents "Judeo-Communism," often aired by formations such as the Greater Romania Party. The pro-opposition dailies Ziua and Romania libera recently attacked U.S. Ambassador Alfred Moses, accusing him of supporting the PDSR in exchange for legislation providing for restitution of Jewish property confiscated by Romania's fascist and communist regimes. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] OSCE REPRESENTATIVES NOT ALLOWED TO CHECK ARMS IN DNIESTER REGION.

    Dniester and Russian representatives in the Joint Control Commission, the Russian-sponsored peacekeeping body in Moldova, did not allow an OSCE visit to alleged military sites in the Dniester region, BASA-Press reported on 15 October. The OSCE mission wanted to visit the fortress of Tighina and the Pribor factory in the same city. Officials from Moldova claim the fortress is supplied with Grad jet-rocket equipment produced in the factory (see ). -- Zsolt Mato

    [15] RUMORS ABOUT BULGARIAN COALITION GOVERNMENT INTENSIFY.

    Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) spokeswoman Klara Marinova and deputy faction leader Stefan Gaytandzhiev said on 15 October that the party wants to form a coalition government after the presidential elections, Standart reported. The daily said that both a party coalition and a government of experts seem possible, but added that participation by the opposition in a government including Prime Minister Zhan Videnov seems out of the question. According to Novinar, the BSP's Nikola Koychev, chairman of parliament's Economics Commission, has already been chosen as future prime minister of a broad coalition government. The daily said the coalition will be formed after the Union of Democratic Forces wins a no-confidence vote in Videnov with the support of several BSP deputies. -- Stefan Krause

    [16] PROTESTERS DEMAND BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION.

    Between 5,000 and 20,000 people rallied in Sofia on 15 October and demanded the government's resignation, international and national media reported. The meeting was organized by the two major trade unions in the country, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and the Confederation of Labor- Podkrepa, and was joined by students. Protesters lit bonfires and burned electricity and telephone bills to protest the government's economic policy. Others shouted "resignation" and "red garbage" in front of the government building. Podkrepa leader Konstantin Trenchev urged opposition deputies to boycott parliament after the 27 October presidential elections and all Bulgarians to depose the government "by force if necessary." -- Maria Koinova

    [17] ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ACCUSED IN $5 MILLION SCANDAL.

    About $5 million given by two state-owned banks to the Albanian Defense Ministry trading company MEICO has dissapeared, Koha Jone reported on 15 October. According to the paper, Defense Minister Safet Zhulali agreed to give the former premises of the Military Studies Institute to the banks as compensation. MEICO failed to return one-year credits of $3 million from the Albanian Savings Bank and $2 million from the National Bank it received in 1993. In a meeting with Zhulali, Finance Minister Ridvan Bode, and National Bank Governor Kristaq Luniku, Albanian President Sali Berisha insisted on a quick resolution of the scandal, before local elections on 20 October. -- 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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