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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 204, 96-10-21

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 204, 21 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] UN DENIES ALLEGED SUPPORT FOR ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.
  • [02] LUKOIL DISCUSSES NEW CONTRACT WITH AZERBAIJAN.
  • [03] KAZAKSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON ENERGY.
  • [04] PAKISTAN'S PRESIDENT VISITS UZBEKISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS IN DANGER.
  • [06] BOSNIAN SERB PARLIAMENT OPENS.
  • [07] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN ZAGREB, BELGRADE.
  • [08] SERBIAN JOURNALIST 'BEATEN BRUTALLY.'
  • [09] BULATOVIC INSISTS PREVLAKA BE HANDED TO MONTENEGRO.
  • [10] INCUMBENT PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION PARTY LEAD IN ROMANIAN OPINION POLL.
  • [11] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS NATO-COUNTRIES TOUR.
  • [12] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT HOPES TO DISMISS GOVERNMENT AFTER ELECTIONS.
  • [13] PARTY PRESS AGITATE FOR BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [15] ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [16] BOTH SIDES CLAIM IRREGULARITIES IN ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] UN DENIES ALLEGED SUPPORT FOR ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.

    The Political Department of the UN has issued a statement denying that Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's special envoy for Abkhazia, Edouard Brunner, expressed "support" for the parliamentary elections to be held in Abkhazia on 23 November, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 October, quoting the Georgian Foreign Ministry. Republic of Abkhazia Radio as monitored by the BBC quoted Brunner on 11 October as stating that "when a parliament has run its term ... it has to be renewed" and implying that ethnic Georgian refugees from Abkhazia should be permitted to participate in the vote. The Abkhaz Supreme Soviet in exile in Tbilisi denounced Brunner's statement and demanded his replacement. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] LUKOIL DISCUSSES NEW CONTRACT WITH AZERBAIJAN.

    The president and vice president of LUKoil held talks in Baku on 19 October with Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and President Heidar Aliev on the joint exploitation of the Inam off-shore Caspian deposit, which has known reserves of 120-150 million metric tons, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. LUKoil wants a 50% share in the project. Speaking at a press conference in Baku on 19 October, Aliev mentioned as additional spheres for cooperation with LUKoil the creation of a joint insurance company and of a company for the overhaul of floating oil rigs. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] KAZAKSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON ENERGY.

    Kazakstani Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin signed seven bilateral agreements with his Russian counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on 18 October, ITAR-TASS reported. The agreements cover a range of issues from rental of military complexes in Kazakstan to the avoidance of double taxation. Also on 18 October, the Kazakstani government approved a resolution allowing regional heads in six northern regions to make their own deals for electricity supplies from Russia. Supplies to these regions were cut off in August because of Kazakstan's unpaid bills, amounting to over $400 million. In exchange for supplies of electricity, the northern regions are sending grain to Russia. -- Bruce Pannier

    [04] PAKISTAN'S PRESIDENT VISITS UZBEKISTAN.

    Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on 20 October concluded a three-day visit to Uzbekistan, where he met President Islam Karimov and other government officials, ITAR-TASS reported. The two leaders signed several agreements, ranging from anti-drug trafficking cooperation to joint-venture trading. According to Uzbek TV on 18 October, bilateral trade is restricted because of the blockage of transport routes across Afghanistan. Trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan stood at $12.7 million for the first six months of 1996, up from $11.6 million for all of 1995. -- Roger Kangas

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS IN DANGER.

    Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic said on 18 October that the organizers of local elections scheduled for 23-24 November have attached too many conditions to the ballot and that the Serbs may boycott, BBC reported. The real reason for the anger in Pale, however, is most likely that the new election rules curtail opportunities to manipulate voter registration to pack the election results in strategic towns (see ). Meanwhile, in tense northeast Bosnia, IFOR troops discovered a booby-trap planted in a power station in the formerly Muslim village of Koraj near Sapna, near the Bosnian interentity border. The Serbs are suspected of trying to discourage further attempts by Muslims to return to their homes in the region, Reuters reported on 20 October. Plavsic called the Muslims' actions -- which are fully in keeping with the Dayton agreement -- "terrorism along our borders," Onasa noted. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] BOSNIAN SERB PARLIAMENT OPENS.

    The National Assembly of the Republika Srpska began its inaugural session in Banja Luka on 19 October, international and regional media reported. The 83- member body includes 17 Muslims and one Croat, as well as some Serbian opposition deputies, but 45 of the seats and the legislature's key offices are controlled by the nationalist Serbian Democratic Party (SDS). The non-Serbs stood for the Bosnian Serb anthem, but then briefly walked out to protest an oath of allegiance that involved expressions of loyalty to Orthodox Christianity, including kissing a Bible and a crucifix. One SDS deputy charged that it was "pure folklore" to have non-Serbs present, but a Serbian Socialist deputy reminded him that "this is not a one-party parliament," AFP reported. Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic said "this is the beginning of a new era of Serb statehood, [but] we are not completely independent. Our sovereignty is limited, and we have to respect what was signed." -- Patrick Moore

    [07] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN ZAGREB, BELGRADE.

    In Belgrade on 17 October, Thedoros Pangalos repeated the Greek view that "the discrimination against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is no longer justified" and urged that the country be "completely reintegrated into international life," AFP and Reuters reported. During his visit, the two sides agreed to liberalize their visa regimes and slash visa fees, and to start direct talks aimed at promoting Greek investment in federal Yugoslavia. The Greek foreign minister and his federal Yugoslav counterpart Milan Milutinovic also signed a cooperation agreement between their ministries and discussed regional developments and bilateral cooperation. Pangalos also met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic, and Serb Patriarch Pavle. The next day in Zagreb, Pangalos met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and signed agreements on protection and promotion of investments, preventing double taxation, and road traffic with his Croatian counterpart Mate Granic. -- Stefan Krause

    [08] SERBIAN JOURNALIST 'BEATEN BRUTALLY.'

    The opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), led by Vuk Draskovic, alleged on 18 October that Milovan Brkic, a journalist and SPO candidate in Belgrade's civic elections, had been "beaten brutally" by police authorities, Beta reported. According to an SPO statement, Brkic had published reports in Srpska rec that the governing authorities found objectionable, prompting them "to assault Brkic." According to the statement, "[they] broke a couple of his ribs, ruptured his spleen, and inflicted a variety of other injuries to his person." The SPO claimed that police repression and violence "picks up" during elections, and that while "this time Milovan Brkic was the victim, tomorrow it could be any Serbian citizen who disagrees with the ruling powers." -- Stan Markotich

    [09] BULATOVIC INSISTS PREVLAKA BE HANDED TO MONTENEGRO.

    "Even though Croatia will still not admit it publicly, a legal, just, and final fixing [of borders] with Montenegro includes Prevlaka's becoming part of the natural [Montenegrin] hinterland, a result that is even in Croatia's own interests," Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic told an election rally in Herceg Novi for the ruling Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) on 18 October, Nasa Borba reported. The disputed Prevlaka peninsula belongs to Croatia but is claimed by Belgrade and controls the federal Yugoslav navy's access to the sea. At the same rally, Montenegrin parliamentary speaker Svetozar Marovic said a vote for the DPS on 3 November would be a ballot for a strong Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and "a life together ... [with] the citizens of Serbia." -- Stan Markotich

    [10] INCUMBENT PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION PARTY LEAD IN ROMANIAN OPINION POLL.

    Incumbent President Ion Iliescu continues to lead in voter preferences in the upcoming presidential race while the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) is preferred in the parliamentary contest, according to the second of three public opinion polls planned by the IMAS polling agency before elections on 3 November. Iliescu was backed by 31.9%, followed by CDR candidate Emil Constantinescu (27.2%) and Social Democratic Union (USD) candidate Petre Roman (21.9%), Romanian media reported on 20-21 October. But the CDR scored 31.2% in voter preferences for parliament, followed by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (28.5%) and the USD (19.7%). More than a quarter of respondents (26.8%) were either undecided or did not intend to vote. In other news, Evenimentul zilei asked the prosecutor's office to investigate a report it had published that three minor presidential candidates -- former Defense Minister Nicolae Militaru, the wonder-healer Constantin Mudava, and Pensioners' Party candidate George Muntean -- submitted partly faked lists of supporting signatures. -- Michael Shafir

    [11] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS NATO-COUNTRIES TOUR.

    Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca ended a five-day tour of Norway, Germany, and Denmark on 21 October, the latest stage of Romania's "NATO offensive" aimed at boosting the country's chances of admission in the "first wave" of NATO enlargement. Tinca delivered messages from President Ion Iliescu to the NATO-member countries' chiefs of state and premiers, Romanian media reported. The official governmental daily Vocea Romaniei cited presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu on 18 October saying reactions received from NATO countries so far are "encouraging." -- Michael Shafir and Zsolt Mato

    [12] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT HOPES TO DISMISS GOVERNMENT AFTER ELECTIONS.

    Incumbent President Mircea Snegur confirmed on 18 October that if re-elected he will try to dismiss the government headed by rival candidate Andrei Sangheli, Infotag reported. If parliament refuses to dismiss the government, Snegur said, he will call a referendum on the question. According to a poll conducted by Chisinau University's Sociology Department, Snegur is leading in voter preferences with 41.8% support to parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi's 33.7% and Sangheli's 10.6%. Also on 18 October, the Central Electoral Commission finalized the list of nine candidates for the 17 November presidential elections. Earlier, the Supreme Court had overruled the commission's refusal to register Maricica Levitschi as a candidate. -- Michael Shafir

    [13] PARTY PRESS AGITATE FOR BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    One week before the 27 October presidential elections, propaganda is increasingly substituted for information in the party media. In a 21 October commentary, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) daily Duma wrote: "What is good for the [Union of Democratic Forces (SDS)] is bad for Bulgaria." Zemya, a daily close to the BSP, contended that the BSP candidate, Culture Minister Ivan[14]

    Marazov, was supported by Bulgarian intellectuals, while the SDS daily Demokratsiya claimed that thousands of intellectuals support the united opposition's candidate, Petar Stoyanov, and accused Marazov of being unable to find winning moves and of making obvious blunders. Meanwhile, in a Fact agency survey published in Standart, every third respondent said Marazov cannot completely substitute for the BSP's original candidate, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, who was banned from the race by the Constitutional Court because he was not born a Bulgarian citizen. -- Maria Koinova

    [15] ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    Albanian President Sali Berisha claimed victory at a rally in front of Tirana's Democratic Party headquarters after local elections on 20 October, AFP reported. Early estimates gave the Democrats 55% of the overall vote. According to the Voice of America the party won about 60% in the cities of Durres and Tirana. Final results are not expected until 23 October. In the 1992 local elections the Socialist opposition won in the countryside but lost in the cities. The turnout is estimated at around 70%. Deutsche Welle's Albanian service reported that by noon only 30%-40% of eligible voters had voted, which is low compared to previous elections. Council of Europe (CE) observers said there had been no reports of serious incidents or "dramatic occurrences," Reuters reported. The CE coordinated 365 international observers. The OSCE withdrew from observing the elections after Albanian authorities refused to accredit all its monitors. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [16] BOTH SIDES CLAIM IRREGULARITIES IN ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    The ruling Democratic Party and opposition Socialists waged a war of faxes on 20 October, denouncing each other for alleged irregularities in the local elections, especially in rural areas and smaller towns, Reuters reported. According to the Democrats, their leader in one northern district, Ferik Veliu, was stabbed by a supporter of the Socialists, Pal Ndreka. Elsewhere, the Socialists claimed police had forced their way into voting booths and tampered with ballot boxes in two or three polling stations, while the Democrats accused Socialist supporters of intimidating voters. According to ATSH the Socialists claimed fraud in Fier and Lezha, where they said election material was strictly controlled by the chairmen of the election commission, who were Democrats. The Democratic Alliance also protested that Democratic Party election commission members elsewhere refused to cooperate with the opposition. -- Dukagjin Gorani

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and Susan Caskie
    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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