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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 208, 96-10-25

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 208, 25 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] SHEVARDNADZE CALLS ON ABKHAZ POPULATION TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS.
  • [02] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION APPEALS TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
  • [03] KAZAKSTANI OFFICIAL ON CIS ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] U.S. ARMS FOR BOSNIAN FEDERATION ARRIVE.
  • [05] BOSNIAN UPDATE.
  • [07] INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL SAYS MASS GRAVE BODIES ARE FROM VUKOVAR HOSPITAL.
  • [08] SERBIAN PARTY OFFICIAL ON SECRET SERVICE, CRIME FIGHTING.
  • [09] YUGOSLAV, AUSTRIAN OFFICIALS MEET.
  • [10] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY TO SUE INDEPENDENT PAPER.
  • [11] MACEDONIA REACHES AGREEMENT WITH LONDON CLUB.
  • [12] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.
  • [13] ROMANIA, NATO WRAP UP LATEST ROUND OF TALKS.
  • [14] TWO CANDIDATES IN DNIESTER "PRESIDENTIAL" ELECTIONS.
  • [15] MORE ON BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [16] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] SHEVARDNADZE CALLS ON ABKHAZ POPULATION TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS.

    In a statement issued on 24 October, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze called on the population of the breakaway Black Sea region of Abkhazia not to participate in the parliamentary elections which its leadership has scheduled for 23 November, ITAR-TASS and NTV reported. Georgia's parliament declared the planned elections illegal on 2 October; on 22 October the UN Security Council called for their postponement pending a formal agreement on the status of Abkhazia vis-a-vis the government in Tbilisi that would expedite the repatriation of some 200,000 ethnic Georgians who fled the fighting in Abkhazia in 1993. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION APPEALS TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.

    Defeated presidential candidate Vazgen Manukyan has formally filed an appeal with the Armenian Constitutional Court, asking that it annul the 22 September election results, Noyan Tapan reported on 24 October. Manukyan's campaign officials submitted a document of more than 500 pages containing "the evidence of election rigging." According to Armenian laws, the court must issue its verdict within one month of the appeal being lodged. Ashot Manucharyan, another opposition candidate and leader of the Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union, will also appeal to the court on 25 October. Meanwhile, several Armenian political parties, including the pro-government Shamiram party, have called for a boycott of the local elections scheduled for November. -- Emil Danielyan

    [03] KAZAKSTANI OFFICIAL ON CIS ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.

    First Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the custom's union committee Nigmatzhan Isingarin was interviewed in the 24 October edition of Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He said that agreements between CIS states are often ineffective, and bilateral deals more useful. He said that in some respects integration is proceeding slower with CIS members than with other countries. Kazakstan has signed 20 agreements preventing double taxation with non-CIS countries and only one with another CIS country. Agreements on investment protection were signed with 12 foreign countries but not a single CIS country. With regard to VAT, Isingarin noted that Ukraine did not sign the relevant agreement and does not levy VAT on its exports, which complicates trade relations. He argued that Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan support the CIS politically, but not economically. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] U.S. ARMS FOR BOSNIAN FEDERATION ARRIVE.

    A U.S. arms shipment for the Bosnian Federation army arrived on 24 October in the Croatian port of Ploce, AFP reported. In addition to tanks, helicopters, and armored personnel carriers, the $100 million "Train and Equip" program includes some 45,000 M16 assault rifles and ammunition, and 800 M60 machine- guns, 840 anti-tank weapons. The U.S. aid is aimed at creating a military balance between the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian Serbs. Meanwhile, James Pardew, U.S. envoy for military stabilization in the Balkans, told Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic that a last shipment of military supplies will be conditional on the resignation of Hasan Cengic, the Muslim deputy defense minister. Cengic, a Muslim hard-liner, is suspected of blocking the implementation of a defense law calling for a joint command for the Muslim- Croatian forces. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [05] BOSNIAN UPDATE.

    Bosnian Serb presidency member Momcilo Krajisnik has told Roberts Owen, international arbitrator for the disputed northern town of Brcko, that a wrong decision on Brcko would be catastrophic for peace, relations between the two entities, and the functioning of joint institutions, AFP reported. In other news, Bosnian Serb assembly speaker Dragan Kalinic said the Muslim and Croatian deputies must swear an oath of allegiance to the Republika Srpska before taking up their duties. Muslim and Croatian deputies, together with Serbian deputies of the opposition coalition Alliance for Peace and Progress, refused to take the oath at the 19 October inauguration of the Bosnian Serb Assembly[06] .

    -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [07] INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL SAYS MASS GRAVE BODIES ARE FROM VUKOVAR HOSPITAL.

    Clint Williamson of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia confirmed on 24 October that bodies found in a mass grave in eastern Croatia were patients from the Vukovar hospital killed by Serbs in 1991, international and local media reported. Some 90 autopsies and 30 tentative identifications have been carried out on the 200 bodies exhumed. Almost all those identified appear on the list of names from the Vukovar hospital, according to Williamson. The Hague-based tribunal has indicted three former Yugoslav army officers for the Vukovar hospital killings. Meanwhile, Manfred Nowak, a member of the UN Human Rights Commission, said on 22 October that some people registered as missing in Croatia are being secretly held in concentration camps in Serbia, Hina reported. Nowak said that documentation on the 1,400 missing persons existed but Belgrade has not submitted it to international organizations. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] SERBIAN PARTY OFFICIAL ON SECRET SERVICE, CRIME FIGHTING.

    Radmilo Bogdanovic, a high ranking official of the governing Socialist Party of Serbia, told the daily Dnevni telegraf on 23 October that the government will redouble efforts to fight crime and even abolish the state security service. Bogdanovic added that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will adopt a legislative system ensuring that federal Yugoslavia "will be well rounded as a legal state." But when questioned about the activities of war criminals-- in particular the internationally wanted Zeljko Raznatovic, alias

    Arkan--Bogdanovic replied that he took his hat off to "anyone who helped the Serbian people [in Bosnia and Croatia] and fought as a volunteer." -- Stan Markotich

    [09] YUGOSLAV, AUSTRIAN OFFICIALS MEET.

    Milan Milutinovic, foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, arrived in Vienna on 23 October for an official visit, the first by a high- ranking Belgrade official since 1991. According to Tanjug, the main purpose of Milutinovic's trip is to help restore bilateral ties and promote the normalization process. Milutinovic told Austria's ORF Television that the Austro-Hungarian empire had adopted "a more balanced approach" than Austria today, adding that "I cannot tell you that as foreign minister but only as a private person." Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel said that Belgrade and Vienna were only a "few days" away from signing a bilateral economic accord, Reuters reported on 24 October. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 25 October reported that Milutinovic will travel to Zagreb next week. -- Stan Markotich

    [10] CROATIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY TO SUE INDEPENDENT PAPER.

    Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak has said his ministry will sue the independent weekly Globus over a report that a Bosnian Croat war crimes suspect is living in the hotel in Split owned by the ministry, international agencies reported on 24 October. According to Globus, Gen. Ivica Rajic, who is accused by the Hague-based criminal tribunal of massacring Muslim civilians during the Muslim-Croatian war, is living in the state-owned hotel. Meanwhile, AFP on 24 October quoted a tribunal official as saying that the tribunal has been informed of the alleged presence of Rajic in Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] MACEDONIA REACHES AGREEMENT WITH LONDON CLUB.

    Following four days of negotiations in New York, Macedonia and the London Club of commercial banks have reached agreement on reducing and rescheduling the country's $644 million debt to the club, Nova Makedonija reported on 25 October. The deal reduces that debt by $364 million and stipulates Macedonia's acceptance of 4.99% of the former Yugoslavia's debt to the club ($280 million) and the rescheduling of payments on that sum over 15 years, with a four-year grace period. Macedonia is the third former Yugoslav republic to reach an agreement with the club. Slovenia accepted 18% of the debt and Croatia 29.5%. - - Michael Wyzan

    [12] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.

    For two hours on 24 October, most factories in Slovenia shut down as part of a nation-wide general strike action, Reuters reported. According to some estimates, nearly 300,000 workers took part in the action, which is in protest of employers' plans to reduce benefits in 1997. In other news, the European parliament on 24 October approved a partnership accord between Slovenia and the EU--a move "which could pave the way for EU membership," AFP reported. Finally, a poll published recently by the daily Dnevnik shows the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDS) in the lead ahead of the 10 November elections. A recent telephone survey in Delo, however, suggests that the LDS is trailing in rural constituencies, behind the Slovenian People's Party. -- Stan Markotich

    [13] ROMANIA, NATO WRAP UP LATEST ROUND OF TALKS.

    The third round of "enhanced dialogue" between NATO and Romania came to an end in Brussels on 23 October, Radio Bucharest reported. The talks ended the second phase of evaluating candidates for NATO membership. NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana is expected to submit a report on the talks with all prospective candidates at a NATO summit meeting in early December, which is to set the agenda for next year's NATO summit on the alliance's enlargement. RFE/RL reported on 24 October that while Romania and Slovakia are still under consideration to be among the "first group" of countries admitted to the alliance, they are unlikely to end up with an invitation to join. Slovenia has a good chance, however, alongside the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary. -- Zsolt Mato and Michael Shafir

    [14] TWO CANDIDATES IN DNIESTER "PRESIDENTIAL" ELECTIONS.

    Only two contenders have registered as candidates in the December "presidential" elections in the breakaway Dniester region, BASA-Press reported on 24 October. They are the current leader of the region, Igor Smirnov, and Vladimir Malakhov, manager of the Tiraspol Mestprombyt Association. The deadline for submitting supporting signatures, as required by the electoral law, was 24 October. -- Michael Shafir

    [15] MORE ON BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    A 24 October poll shows the united opposition presidential candidate Petar Stoyanov with an 11% lead over Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) candidate Ivan Marazov, Reuters reported. Bulgarian Business Bloc leader Georges Ganchev, a populist candidate offering an alternative to those disillusioned with both the BSP and the Union of Democratic Forces, is close behind Marazov. Sofia University political analyst Ognian Minchev said Ganchev could become the next president if he is backed by socialist supporters in a second round of voting, RFE/RL reported. Today is the last day of the election campaign. -- Maria Koinova

    [16] ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.

    The Central Electoral Commission, announcing on 24 October the official results of the first round of the local elections, has confirmed that the Democratic Party scored an overwhelming victory in 88% of the county halls, Dita Informacion reported on 25 October. The Socialists gained only 10%. Democrats will govern in 37 municipalities and the Socialists in four. The Greek minority Human Rights Party--considered influential in the south of the country--gained less than 3%. According to the commission, run-offs will take place between Democratic and Socialist candidates in 22 municipalities. -- Dukagjin Gorani

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and Jan Cleave
    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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