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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 212, 96-11-01

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 212, 1 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] NOTHING NEW IN THE LATEST ROUND OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH TALKS.
  • [02] GEORGIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.
  • [03] GEORGIAN OPPOSITION CREATES COMMITTEE TO LOBBY FOR RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL.
  • [04] MONEY FROM OIL SALES MISSING.
  • [05] MORE CHANGES IN KAZAKSTANI GOVERNMENT.
  • [06] JAPANESE GIVE MONEY TO UPGRADE UZBEK AIRPORTS.
  • [07] CENTRAL ASIANS AT DONOR CONFERENCE IN JAPAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] IFOR SEARCHES MUSLIM HOMES FOR WEAPONS.
  • [09] CONCERN OVER NATIONALIST INCIDENTS IN BOSNIA.
  • [10] FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA NEARS 3 NOVEMBER ELECTION.
  • [11] GROWING TIES BETWEEN BELGRADE, MOSCOW.
  • [12] KOSOVO ALBANIANS PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS.
  • [13] UN SAYS SERBS ARE LEAVING EASTERN SLAVONIA.
  • [14] CROATIA BUYS U.S. MILITARY HELICOPTERS.
  • [15] ROMANIA ENDS ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN.
  • [16] THOUSANDS RALLY IN BUCHAREST IN SUPPORT OF THEIR CANDIDATES.
  • [17] RUSSIA SUPPORTS DNIESTER PARTICIPATION IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
  • [18] BOMB BLAST AGAINST A HIGH BULGARIAN OFFICIAL.
  • [19] BANKRUPTCY FOR EIGHT BULGARIAN BANKS, LOWER INTEREST RATE.
  • [20] U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SATISFIED WITH ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] NOTHING NEW IN THE LATEST ROUND OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH TALKS.

    No progress was made at the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sponsored by the OSCE's Minsk group that ended on 30 October in Moscow, RFE/RL and Russian media reported. The OSCE urged all parties to agree on a "declaration of principles" of the conflict's settlement before the December summit in Lisbon. The Minsk group released a statement criticizing the plans of the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership to hold presidential elections on 24 November, Noyan Tapan reported on 31 October. Despite similar criticism from Azerbaijan, Russia, and the U.S., Karabakh authorities said on 30 October that the elections will take place. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] GEORGIA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has issued a decree on conducting a referendum on 23 November in which ethnic Georgian refugees who fled Abkhazia will declare whether or not they approve of the Abkhaz parliament elections to be held on the same day, AFP reported on 31 October quoting ITAR-TASS. On 2 October the Georgian parliament condemned the proposed Abkhaz parliamentary elections as invalid given that the former Georgian population of Abkhazia is unable to participate. The UN has called for their postponement, but on 29 October Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba reaffirmed that they would take place, Reuters reported. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] GEORGIAN OPPOSITION CREATES COMMITTEE TO LOBBY FOR RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL.

    Seventeen Georgian opposition parties have created a committee to lobby "by peaceful means" for the withdrawal from Georgian territory of all Russian troops stationed there, AFP reported on 31 October. Russia currently leases four military bases in Georgia, but the Georgain parliament has threatened to annul this agreement as it is conditional on Russian assistance in reasserting Georgian control over Abkhazia. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] MONEY FROM OIL SALES MISSING.

    Sarybai Kalmurzaev, the head of the Kazakstani State Property Committee, said that over $500 million from oil sales over the past few years was never received. During a press conference on the privatization of the oil and gas industry, he said that a corrupted system of trade rather than nonpayments between enterprises is to blame. The sum is equal to 3 million tons of crude oil. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [05] MORE CHANGES IN KAZAKSTANI GOVERNMENT.

    A reshuffling of the government continued on 31 October when Gen. Mukhtar Altynbayev was appointed defense minister, replacing Alibek Kasymov, who reportedly left this post due to "health problems." Altynbayev, 51, was a deputy minister and had commanded the Kazakstani Air Force since 1993. President Nursultan Nazarbayev also appointed Abish Kekilbayev as state secretary of the republic, Hayrolla Ospanov as industry and trade minister, and Qirimbek Kosherbayev as Nazarbayev's press secretary. These appointments have been made in the absence of Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who is currently in Japan. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [06] JAPANESE GIVE MONEY TO UPGRADE UZBEK AIRPORTS.

    The Japanese government announced on 30 October that a credit of 15.5 billion yen (more than $140 million) will be given to Uzbekistan to upgrade airports in Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench, ITAR-TASS reported. The three cities date back to the days of the Silk Route and are the sites of many historical monuments. The Uzbek government hopes that improvement in the airports will aid the tourism industry, with profits then channeled into industry. -- Bruce Pannier

    [07] CENTRAL ASIANS AT DONOR CONFERENCE IN JAPAN.

    The prime ministers of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are in Japan for a three-day conference for countries that give aid to Central Asian states, ITAR- TASS and NTV reported. Japan was the only country to go on record with new funding schemes for the three countries. Kazakstan was pledged $200 million for projects ranging from building new bridges to constructing medical centers, according to Kazak Television monitored by the BBC. ITAR-TASS reported Tajikistan will receive about $2.25 million in credits for construction of international airports at Dushanbe, Khojent, and Kulyab. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] IFOR SEARCHES MUSLIM HOMES FOR WEAPONS.

    IFOR searched 109 Muslim homes in Jusici for arms and other contraband on 31 October finding nothing, Reuters reported. Muslims began returning this summer to that village on the Serbian edge of the tense interentity border. The resettlement has been much to the consternation of the Serbs and of IFOR, which tends to regard them as troublemakers. The Dayton agreement guarantees all refugees the right to go home. The president of the Community of Croatian Refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stef Masatovic, charged that none of the three sides is interested in letting refuges go home and the only solution is to build new towns for them, Oslobodjenje wrote on 1 November. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] CONCERN OVER NATIONALIST INCIDENTS IN BOSNIA.

    In Sarajevo, the anti-nationalist opposition Social Democrats (UBSD) criticized the Serb member of the three-member presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, for ignoring incidents against non-Serbian refugees and their property in the Republika Srpska, and slammed the Muslim Alija Izetbegovic for not providing full security for Serbs in Ilidza, Onasa wrote on 31 October. The UBSD also criticized the Croat Kresimir Zubak for not responding to the destruction of Serb-owned property in Drvar and to the expulsion of Muslims from west Mostar. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA NEARS 3 NOVEMBER ELECTION.

    An estimated 30,000 people gathered in Belgrade's Republic Square on 31 October for the final election rally held by the opposition Zajedno (Together) coalition. Serbian Renewal Party leader Vuk Draskovic told the crowd that the ruling Socialists "... are trying to turn back the clock. They want to turn the whole of Serbia into a concentration camp and plunge it into total darkness and isolation." State controlled radio and television did not report the event. Meanwhile, Reuters reported Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that same day made an appearance at a convention of his leftist coalition, dominated by his own Socialist Party of Serbia. Milosevic, speaking to about 6, 000, claimed he was committed to regional peace and values such as reconciliation, prosperity, and democracy. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] GROWING TIES BETWEEN BELGRADE, MOSCOW.

    In Belgrade on 31 October Russian and federal Yugoslav representatives of the Inter-governmental Russian-Yugoslav Committee for Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technological Cooperation signed four accords, dealing principally with agricultural issues and the "liberalization of trade," Nasa Borba reported the following day. Signing for the federal Yugoslav side was committee co-chairman and federal Yugoslav Trade Minister Djordje Siradovic, while First Deputy Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants signed for the Russian side. (For more on this topic, see "Russia Wants Base in Former Yugoslavia," in the Russian part). -- Stan Markotich

    [12] KOSOVO ALBANIANS PLEDGE TO BOYCOTT ELECTIONS.

    Shadow-state president Ibrahim Rugova said that Kosovar Albanians would boycott the federal Yugoslav elections, as they did since abolition of the regions autonomy in 1989, AFP reported on 31 October. He said "elections organized by Belgrade don't interest us, they are not ours. The Albanians in Kosovo had their [presidential and parliamentary] elections in 1992." Those elections were not internationally recognized. Kosovo has 13 seats in the 138 member federal parliament for which only Serb and Montenegrin candidates run. The Socialist Party of Serbia is the strongest candidate among Kosovo Serbs. The Serbian opposition charges Rugova with playing into Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's hands by giving up the 13 seats. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [13] UN SAYS SERBS ARE LEAVING EASTERN SLAVONIA.

    UN spokeswoman in Belgrade Susan Manuel said that fifty-two Serb families left Croatia's last Serb-held region of eastern Slavonia last weekend, AFP reported on 31 October. In other news, about 2,000 Croats are expected to visit family graves in eastern Slavonia on 1 November, All Saints' Day. They will visit sites protected by the UN Transitional Police Force in selected villages and escorted by UN vehicles. The Croat authorities agreed to allow reciprocal visit by Orthodox Serbs to graves in Croatian government territory. Meanwhile, the UN has returned five villages in the southwestern tip of eastern Slavonia, to Croatian government rule beginning the region's reintegration into the rest of the country, Reuters reported on 31 October. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [14] CROATIA BUYS U.S. MILITARY HELICOPTERS.

    Croatian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Zagorec and Bell Helicopter Textron Ltd. deputy president Fred Hubbard signed a $15-million deal to purchase ten Bell helicopters for Croatian armed forces, Hina reported on 31 October. Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak said Croatia intends to fully introduce a Western military structure and weapons by year 2005. In Washington, Susak discussed with U.S. officials Croatia's desire to join NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He said Croatia's admission to the program was postponed at the latest NATO meeting although the United States supports its membership. Admission will depend on the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly, the Bosnian Federation, reported Hina. Susak also said the United States would support termination of the UN mandate in eastern Slavonia in mid-July next year. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [15] ROMANIA ENDS ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN.

    Campaigning for the 3 November presidential and general elections officially ended at midnight on 31 October, Romanian media reported on 1 November. A five- hour debate--with all 16 presidential candidates--ended the campaign, which was aired live by the national TV and radio stations. Incumbent President Ion Iliescu vowed moderation in order to avoid "violent ruptures that may destroy the delicate balance in society." His main opponent, Emil Constantinescu, of the Democratic Convention of Romania, pledged to take Romania out of its current economic and social crisis, for which he blamed Iliescu and his ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. Romania's electoral law prohibits any public electoral activity in the two days preceding the voting. -- Dan Ionescu

    [16] THOUSANDS RALLY IN BUCHAREST IN SUPPORT OF THEIR CANDIDATES.

    Thousands of Romanians on 31 October marched through downtown Bucharest in support of the main opposition organization, Democratic Convention of Romania, and its presidential candidate, Emil Constantinescu, international media reported the same day. Ion Iliescu, who has a slight lead over Constantinescu in latest opinion polls, told supporters he and his Party of Social Democracy in Romania want a new term in office to build on what has already been started. Petre Roman, a former prime minister between 1990 and 1991 and a close third in the presidential race, on 30 October organized an electoral meeting, which ended with a rock concert. Roman, who accused Iliescu of having "condoned the corruption and dishonesty spread across the country," called for the ousting of what he called the "Iliescu regime." -- Zsolt Mato

    [17] RUSSIA SUPPORTS DNIESTER PARTICIPATION IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

    Moldovan Parliament Speaker Petru Lucinschi stated that Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin favors participation of Dniester inhabitants in the 17 November Moldovan presidential election, BASA-press and Infotag reported on 31 October. Lucinschi's comment came after meeting with Chernomyrdin and other senior Russian officials in Moscow. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov said that Dniester participation in the voting "would be a big political step [forward]" since it would imply that the region is part of the Republic of Moldova, reported a Chisinau parliament press release. But Dniester Supreme Soviet Chairman Grigorii Marakutsa on 31 October denied that the Tiraspol leadership had "received any recommendations from Russia" concerning the region's participation in Moldovan elections. -- Dan Ionescu

    [18] BOMB BLAST AGAINST A HIGH BULGARIAN OFFICIAL.

    A bomb on October 31 exploded in the car of the secretary of the Central Electoral Committee. Haralambi Anchev, who is also a bank liquidator, was in the car during the blast but unhurt. While Standart linked the explosion to the upcoming presidential election runoff on 3 November, Kontinent reported that Anchev was chased by the "shadow of Orion," an economic circle "friendly" to Premier Zhan Videnov. At the time of the blast, Anchev was liquidating the Bulgarian Agricultural and Industrial Bank, linked to Orion. -- Maria Koinova

    [19] BANKRUPTCY FOR EIGHT BULGARIAN BANKS, LOWER INTEREST RATE.

    The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) on 31 October called for bankruptcy proceedings to begin against eight of the nine banks put under "special supervision" on 23 September (see ) and revoked the licenses of

    15 brokerages, Pari reported on 1 November. The banks include the state- owned Balkanbank and Stopanska banka, and six private banks - TS, Biznes, Slavyani, Mollov, Yambol, and Dobrudzha banks. The fate of the ninth institution, Elitbank, remains unclear. The decision, which was supposed to be made by 23 October, comes a day before Anne McGuirk, head of the IMF's Bulgaria mission, arrives in Sofia for negotiations over release of a twice- delayed, $115 million tranche of a standby loan agreed to in July. -- Michael Wyzan

    [20] U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SATISFIED WITH ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on 31 October that "the U.S. government believes that the [20 October] Albanian local elections were sufficiently democratic to be accepted as an expression of the will of the people of Albania," Reuters reported. But he urged the Albanian government "to follow the adoption of a constitution by holding a popular referendum and parliamentary elections, which would be organized under a new constitutional framework." The U.S. had strongly criticized May's parliamentary elections. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Valentina Huber
    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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