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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 206, 96-10-23

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 206, 23 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] VERDICT IN GEORGIAN ANTI-SEMITISM CASE.
  • [02] UN CALLS ON ABKHAZ LEADERSHIP TO POSTPONE ELECTIONS.
  • [03] FINAL RESULTS OF ARMENIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [04] LEADER OF RULING PARTY ON ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER.
  • [05] KARABAKH ELECTION RUMPUS.
  • [06] AID FOR RECONSTRUCTION, REFUGEES IN AZERBAIJAN.
  • [07] UZBEK YOUTH ORGANIZATION STARTS PAPER.
  • [08] JAPAN TO LOAN TURKMENISTAN $120 MILLION.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [09] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER SIGNS OATH TO BOSNIA.
  • [10] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY ON TRACK?
  • [11] MORE THAN 700 BODIES EXHUMED BY CROATIAN AUTHORITIES.
  • [12] UN PREPARES FOR POSSIBLE SERB EXODUS FROM EASTERN SLAVONIA.
  • [13] TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA TO CONTINUE INTO 1997.
  • [14] SLOVENIAN CLAIM ON FORMER YUGOSLAV ASSETS NOW IN COURT.
  • [15] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF PLANNING ELECTION FRAUD.
  • [16] MOLDOVA RATIFIES CONVENTION ON PROTECTION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES.
  • [17] DNIESTER AUTHORITIES TO BUILD AMMUNITION RECYCLING PLANT.
  • [18] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [19] BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS UPDATE.
  • [20] BULGARIAN HIGH OFFICIALS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION.
  • [21] EUROPEAN, U.S. INSTITUTES CALL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS "FREE AND FAIR."
  • [22] TWO ALBANIAN PRISON OFFICIALS ARRESTED IN ALLEGED TERRORIST CONSPIRACY.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] VERDICT IN GEORGIAN ANTI-SEMITISM CASE.

    Givi Alaznispireli, owner and editor of the newspaper Noe, has been sentenced to one year's imprisonment "for violating national and racial equality," BGI reported on 19 October. Alaznispireli was arrested in August after publishing a virulently anti-Semitic article in his paper. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] UN CALLS ON ABKHAZ LEADERSHIP TO POSTPONE ELECTIONS.

    The UN Security Council on 22 October called on the leadership of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for 23 November until a political settlement is reached on Abkhazia's status vis-a-vis the Tbilisi government, Reuters reported. The statement contradicts the opinion expressed two weeks ago by UN Secretary- General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's special envoy for Abkhazia, Swiss diplomat Edouard Brunner, who told Abkhaz Radio that a new parliament should be elected given that the term of the existing one was due to expire. Also on 22 October, the UN Security Council passed a resolution (despite Chinese objections) to establish a two-person office in the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi, to monitor human rights violations, according to AFP. Abkhaz Security Service head Astamur Tarba denied Georgian TV reports that Abkhaz militants had attacked a village in Abkhazia's Gali raion and abducted four ethnic Georgians, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October. Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba accused the Georgian authorities of launching a campaign of "terror and sabotage" in order to prevent the elections. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] FINAL RESULTS OF ARMENIAN ELECTIONS.

    The Armenian Central Election Commission released the final results of the 22 September presidential polls, confirming the victory of the incumbent Levon Ter-Petrossyan with 52.75% of the vote, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 October. The opposition, whose candidate, Vazgen Manukyan, won 41.3% of the vote, has accused the authorities of election rigging and plans to appeal the official results to the Constitutional Court. -- Emil Danielyan

    [04] LEADER OF RULING PARTY ON ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER.

    The chairman of Armenia's ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement party (HHSh), Ter-Husik Lazaryan, in an interview with RFE/RL on 22 October, called on Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan to step down. Lazaryan claimed that Bagratyan is to blame for the country's economic hardships that resulted in the poorer than expected performance of Ter-Petrossyan in the disputed 22 September election. Lazaryan's statements follow similar comments by other HHSh leaders. In his first post-election speech Ter-Petrossyan promised a "serious reshuffle" of the government. -- Emil Danielyan

    [05] KARABAKH ELECTION RUMPUS.

    Azerbaijan's Central Electoral Commission on 22 October issued a statement condemning as "an attempt to legalize a puppet regime" the presidential elections scheduled for 24 November by the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno- Karabakh, Turan reported. The agency also quoted the U.S. Ambassador to Baku, Richard Kauzlarich, as stating that the U.S. government does not recognize the legitimacy of the elections. To date four presidential candidates have been registered: incumbent Robert Kocharyan, former parliament deputy speaker Boris Arushanyan, Nagorno-Karabakh Communist Party head Hrant Melkumyan, and the head of the Control Inspection of the government of the RNK, Albert Ghazaryan, Noyan Tapan reported on 22 October. -- Liz Fuller

    [06] AID FOR RECONSTRUCTION, REFUGEES IN AZERBAIJAN.

    Representatives of the World Bank, the UN Development Program, and the Azerbaijani government signed an agreement in Baku on 22 October on financial aid for reconstruction work in seven raions of Azerbaijan destroyed by fighting in 1993, ITAR-TASS reported. The estimated cost of reconstruction is $22 billion; the World Bank will provide $50 million. Donor countries provided $7.6 million towards the cost of UNHCR programs for reconstruction in 1996, according to Turan on 22 October, quoting the head of the UNHCR program for Azerbaijan, Ann Howard-Whiles. -- Liz Fuller

    [07] UZBEK YOUTH ORGANIZATION STARTS PAPER.

    The youth organization Kamolot (Perfection) sent to press the first issue of its independent newspaper, Uzbek radio reported on 20 October. Also called Kamolot, the newspaper will begin service in the Namangan region and will partially act as a promotional vehicle for the organization. Founded in the summer of 1996, Kamolot is a government-funded "non-governmental organization" which is supposed to fill the role of the Soviet-era Komsomol. Unlike that entity, however, Kamolot is allowed to court Western companies for financial assistance which can be matched by government contributions. -- Roger Kangas

    [08] JAPAN TO LOAN TURKMENISTAN $120 MILLION.

    The Export-Import Bank of Japan, after consulting with Japanese commercial banks, announced that a loan of $120 million would be extended to Turkmenistan, according to Reuters and RFE/RL. The money is slated to be used in upgrading the oil refining industry with the hope of diversifying the economy and reducing pollutants. The Export-Import Bank will put up 60% of the loan (about $73 million) and the remainder will be co-financed by three Japanese banks. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [09] BOSNIAN SERB LEADER SIGNS OATH TO BOSNIA.

    The Serbian member of the three-man presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, on 22 October signed a "solemn declaration" promising to "uphold and defend" the Bosnian constitution, international and local media reported. The Bosnian constitution, which was contained in the Dayton agreement, defines Bosnia- Herzegovina as a unitary state consisting of two "entities." By taking this oath, Krajisnik appears to have abandoned formal claims to independence for the Republika Srpska, which is, however, still a major policy goal of his party. It seems that Bosnian Serb leaders have decided at least to pay lip service to the Dayton system while still seeking independence and unity with other Serbian lands in the long run. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY ON TRACK?

    Krajisnik was attending the second full meeting of the presidency, which took place in Sarajevo's National Museum under the auspices of U.S. envoy John Kornblum. The next session of that body has been set for 25 October in a Serb- held school in nearby Lukavica, while the fourth meeting will take place on 29 October back in the museum, Oslobodjenje noted on 23 October. A six-month deadline has been set to draw up "a long-term arrangement dealing with the goals, meeting places, and functioning" of the various joint institutions, Dnevni avaz added. This marks a breakthrough in that the parties have agreed to a concrete timetable. -- Patrick Moore

    [11] MORE THAN 700 BODIES EXHUMED BY CROATIAN AUTHORITIES.

    The Croatian authorities have exhumed more than 700 bodies from mass graves in the formerly Serb-controlled regions of western Slavonia and Krajina, AFP reported on 21 October. Ivan Gruic, head of the Croatian commission for prisoners and displaced people, said 80% of those exhumed were civilians; six were children. International organizations have not confirmed these figures. Gruic also said that 90% of the bodies have been identified. Meanwhile, the Croatian government has announced that its experts will begin on 1 December identifying bodies exhumed by international experts from a mass grave near the town of Vukovar, in eastern Slavonia. Gruic said he expected mass graves there to yield several thousand more bodies than had been unearthed so far. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [12] UN PREPARES FOR POSSIBLE SERB EXODUS FROM EASTERN SLAVONIA.

    UN intelligence services in eastern Slavonia are preparing contingency plans to cope with a possible exodus of Serbs from this last Serb-held region of Croatia, AFP reported on 22 October, citing Le Monde. According to the French daily, a confidential UN document says the return of Croats next spring to the area from which they were forcibly expelled in 1991 could prompt the 130,000 Serbs now living there to leave for Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. UN officials in New York said there was "nothing secret" about making contingency plans for such a scenario and that it was customary to prepare for all eventualities in such cases, AFP reported. A UN spokesman in eastern Slavonia said he did not believe that a massive exodus would take place. In other news, Serbs in eastern Slavonia have called again for a "special status," AFP reported. The UN dismissed the request when it was first made in June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [13] TRADE SANCTIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA TO CONTINUE INTO 1997.

    The last session of the U.S. congress has passed legislation extending into 1997 trade sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, despite a recent UN resolution providing for the embargo to be lifted. Nasa Borba on 23 October said Washington's action amounted to enforcing the "outer wall" of sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. It reported that the extension of the embargo is linked to an improvement in internal conditions in Serbia's predominantly ethnic Albanian province of Kosovo, including the renewal of autonomy, improved human rights, and the return of international observers. -- Stan Markotich

    [14] SLOVENIAN CLAIM ON FORMER YUGOSLAV ASSETS NOW IN COURT.

    Hearings to determine the status of assets held by the Cyprus branch of Belgrade's Beobanka resumed in a Nicosia court on 21 October, Radio Slovenija reported. Ljubljana has laid claim to a portion of those assets. Borka Vucic, the director of the Cyprus branch, says, however, that Slovenian officials have no proof that between 1978 and 1988, any Slovenian commercial bank made deposits with the former National Bank of Yugoslavia. Thus, he argues, they cannot prove that any assets have come to be held by Beobanka. Vucic also alleged that Slovenia owes Beobanka some $2 billion withheld since the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia. Earlier this year, Slovenia succeeded in having Beobanka's assets in Cyprus frozen by court order. -- Stan Markotich

    [15] ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF PLANNING ELECTION FRAUD.

    Romania's opposition parties have accused the government of planning to falsify the results of the 3 November presidential elections, AFP and Romanian dailies reported on 22-23 October. They say the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) has violated the election law by appointing several hundreds of its members as chairmen of polling stations. Meanwhile, President Ion Iliescu has added to the anti-Semitic statements against his rival, Petre Roman, who is partly of Jewish descent. Iliescu told a meeting in Olt County that Roman "does not really have roots in our people." Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the presidential candidate of the Greater Romania Party and a notorious anti-Semite, told Jurnalul national that if there is a presidential runoff, he will ask his electorate to vote for Romania's wartime Hitler ally, Marshal Ion Antonescu. -- Michael Shafir

    [16] MOLDOVA RATIFIES CONVENTION ON PROTECTION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES.

    The parliament on 22 October ratified the Council of Europe's Convention on the Protection of Ethnic Minorities, Infotag reported the same day. Heated debates preceded the passage of the law ratifying the convention, primarily because of an article aimed at defining what constitutes an "ethnic minority." Deputies decided to avoid interpreting the term, allowing the convention to be ratified. -- Zsolt Mato

    [17] DNIESTER AUTHORITIES TO BUILD AMMUNITION RECYCLING PLANT.

    The leaders of the breakaway Dniester republic have reached an agreement with an unspecified "foreign country" on building a plant to recycle ammunition belonging to the former Russian 14th Army, Infotag reported on 22 October, citing Prosecutor General Victor Zakharov. Thousands of tons of ammunition have been kept for decades in Russian depots in the region. -- Zsolt Mato

    [18] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    The Constitutional Court has decided that a minimum turnout is not required in the first round of the 27 October presidential elections, RFE/RL reported on 22 October. The court noted that under the constitution, a president is elected in the first round if he receives more than half of the valid votes cast and if turnout is more than 50%. The court ruled that if one or both conditions are not met, the vote is valid but the two best-seeded candidates are to take part in a second round. It explicitly stated that a second round must take place if turnout is less than 50% in the first round. There had been speculation that the election would be postponed in the event of low voter turnout. -- Stefan Krause

    [19] BULGARIAN GRAIN CRISIS UPDATE.

    Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Deputy Chairman Vasil Gotsev and SDS caucus leader Yordan Sokolov have said that the EU has turned down a Bulgarian government request for financial and humanitarian aid to help alleviate the ongoing grain crisis, Demokratsiya reported on 23 October. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov reportedly asked last month to import grain from EU countries. But the government denied those reports, saying Videnov received a private letter from EU Commission President Jacques Santer that, according the government press office, promised Bulgaria 40 million ECU ($30 million). The office did not specify, however, whether this sum was a credit for grain imports. Gotsev claimed that Videnov had deliberately hidden the letter because of the impending presidential elections. In other news, Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development Minister Rumen Gechev said Bulgaria will barely be able to service half its foreign and domestic debt in 1997. -- Stefan Krause

    [20] BULGARIAN HIGH OFFICIALS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION.

    Union of Democratic Forces deputy Edvin Sugarev on 22 October published an open letter to Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev claiming that high officials close to the government and to Prime Minister Zhan Videnov are involved in shady banking, privatization, and telecommunications deals, Bulgarian media reported. Sugarev said the National Security Service and Central Office for Fighting Organized Crime launched separate anti-corruption investigations that were halted. He also alleged that former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov was murdered because he had gathered similar information. Meanwhile, government Committee for Post and Telecommunications Chairman Lyubomir Kolarov has asked Parliamentary Chairman Blagovest Sendov to lift Sugarev's parliamentary immunity because he wants to take the UDF deputy to the court for "lies and slanders" against both the Bulgarian Socialist Party and him personally. -- Maria Koinova

    [21] EUROPEAN, U.S. INSTITUTES CALL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS "FREE AND FAIR."

    The International Republican Institute has concluded that in the 20 October local elections "none [of the incidents] appears to have threatened the legitimacy of the election." The U.S. National Democratic Institute on International Affairs called the vote "a significant improvement from the May elections." The Council of Europe said it was "satisfied with the way the vote was carried out, but regrets a few cases of irregularities serious enough to warrant careful examination by the Central Electoral Commission," AFP reported. A Socialist Party spokesman, however, called the ballot "another farce following the legislative elections of 26 May." He pointed out that monitoring missions had visited only 263 of the 4,665 polling stations. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [22] TWO ALBANIAN PRISON OFFICIALS ARRESTED IN ALLEGED TERRORIST CONSPIRACY.

    A Tirana court has arraigned two high-ranking Tepelena prison officials on charges of abuse of office, ATSH reported on 22 October. Gribes Licaj is accused of allowing illegal meetings between late communist dictator Enver Hoxha's son-in-law Klement Koloneci and communist secret police chief Hajredin Shyti, who is serving an 18-year-prison term in Tepelena for involvement in the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Shkoder in April 1991. Licaj is also accused of allowing letters by Shyti containing instructions for the Revenge of Justice terrorist group to leave the jail. Those letters were found in the possession of Shyti's son. Robert Kazanxhiu is accused of falsifying Koloneci's name so that he could enter the jail. So far, 20 people have been arrested in connection with the alleged conspiracy. -- Fabian Schmidt

    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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