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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 213, 96-11-04

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 213, 4 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN TRANSCAUCASUS.
  • [02] OPPOSITION LEADER ON THE SITUATION IN ARMENIA.
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI-TURKISH MILITARY COOPERATION.
  • [04] GEORGIAN-IRANIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED.
  • [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION RELEASES 10 HOSTAGES.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] IZETBEGOVIC "TO MOVE" CONTROVERSIAL BOSNIAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL.
  • [07] SERBIAN PRESIDENT CELEBRATES ELECTORAL VICTORIES ...
  • [08] ... WHILE THE OPPOSITION POINTS TO IRREGULARITIES.
  • [09] MACEDONIA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY.
  • [10] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.
  • [11] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS LOOK TIGHT.
  • [12] ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE HEAD SAYS HE WILL QUIT.
  • [13] TWO TO RUN IN DNIESTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [14] OPPOSITION CANDIDATE WINS BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [15] SOCIALIST REACTIONS TO STOYANOV'S VICTORY.
  • [16] UPDATED FINAL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN TRANSCAUCASUS.

    Tarja Halonen on 3 November concluded visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan in connection with the end of Finland's almost two-year co-chairmanship of the OSCE-sponsored negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ITAR-TASS reported. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev told Halonen that his country is ready to grant Nagorno-Karabakh "the highest autonomy status," citing the examples of the Aland Islands in Finland and "some republics of Russia." Aliev reiterated that Azerbaijan's territorial integrity must be preserved and criticized the OSCE's Minsk group for its insufficient emphasis on the principle of inviolability of borders. The next round of Karabakh talks will begin on 18 November in Helsinki. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] OPPOSITION LEADER ON THE SITUATION IN ARMENIA.

    Former presidential national security adviser and leader of the opposition Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union Ashot Manucharyan claimed that Armenia may face a threat of "military aggression" from the Nakhichevan sector of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Noyan Tapan reported on 1 November. Speaking about the country's political situation, Manucharyan said the authorities and opposition should start a "strictly confidential" dialogue to overcome the current stand-off. He suggested that the establishment of a consultative council and fresh elections might be among possible compromises. According to Manucharyan, the U.S. can use its "great influence" with the Armenian government to make the latter respect human rights and democratic principles. - - Emil Danielyan

    [03] AZERBAIJANI-TURKISH MILITARY COOPERATION.

    A delegation from the Turkish armed forces general staff, headed by Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Cetin Dogan, met in Baku on 31 October with Azerbaijan's defense minister Safar Abiev, Turan reported on 1 November. The two men signed protocols on cooperation between the ministries of defense of the two countries. Azerbaijani politicians have condemned recent Turkish statements about the possible opening of a frontier crossing between Armenia and Turkey; Azerbaijan Popular Front Deputy Chairman Ali Kerimov argued that Azerbaijan's Milli Mejlis should appeal to the Turkish parliament not to do so, according to Turan of 2 November. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] GEORGIAN-IRANIAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED.

    Iranian First Deputy President Hassan Habibi on 3 November ended a four-day official visit to Georgia, signing four bilateral agreements on economic cooperation, ITAR-TASS reported. Habibi met with President Eduard Shevardnadze, parliament chairman Zurab Zhvania, and the chairman of the Adzhar Supreme Soviet, Aslan Abashidze. Issues discussed included the construction of a motorway from Georgia through Azerbaijan to Iran, and Iranian access to Georgian Black Sea port facilities. -- Liz Fuller

    [05] TAJIK OPPOSITION RELEASES 10 HOSTAGES.

    Ten of 35 police officers taken prisoner by the Tajik opposition near Komsomolabad on 27 October were released unconditionally on 1 November, according to ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL. Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri said the remaining hostages would be freed when the government removed its checkpoints along roads in central Tajikistan, the opposition's original demand, but added a new demand that four opposition members be freed from government jails. -- Bruce Pannier and Abbas Djavadi

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] IZETBEGOVIC "TO MOVE" CONTROVERSIAL BOSNIAN DEFENSE OFFICIAL.

    President Alija Izetbegovic said that Deputy Defense Minister Hasan Cengic will be transferred to another job as part of a government reshuffle. Izetbegovic apparently refused to bow to U.S. pressure and openly sack the minister, whose removal Washington said was a precondition for resumption of U.S. military aid, AFP reported on 3 November. The public imbroglio has dragged on for nearly two weeks. U.S. spokesmen a[[integral]]Ddifferent times have given two reasons for Cengic's removal: he was allegedly blocking the integration of the Croat-Muslim joint command; or because of his purported links to Iran. Izetbegovic has denied that Cengic or any of the Bosnian military have links to Iran, saying "we chose military cooperation with the United States [over that with Iran], because that gives more guarantees in preventing aggression in the future." -- Patrick Moore

    [07] SERBIAN PRESIDENT CELEBRATES ELECTORAL VICTORIES ...

    Slobodan Milosevic and members of his leftist coalition, including his wife and leader of the Yugoslav United Left, are celebrating electoral victory in federal Yugoslavia's 3 November parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Official results are far from in, and may be delayed until 7 November. Nevertheless, only hours after polls closed at 8 p.m., a representative of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia told the press that Milosevic's leftist coalition had "an overwhelming lead" over the main opposition coalition Zajedno (Together). Polling for local offices and the Montenegrin republican legislature were also held. Back on 5 October AIM Podgorica reported that changes to the electoral law favored the Montenegrin ruling Democratic Socialist Party so much so that the modest support of only 30% of the electorate could still theoretically translate into a majority of seats for the DPS in the 85-member house. -- Stan Markotich

    [08] ... WHILE THE OPPOSITION POINTS TO IRREGULARITIES.

    Meanwhile, the opposition camp has raised serious questions over electoral improprieties. For his part, nationalist leader of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, remarked he was barred from monitoring the polls in several constituencies. Moreover, several opposition leaders continue to claim that the ruling Socialists dominated media coverage of the elections throughout the campaign, and that the Socialists--despite the presence of some international observers--still control vote counting procedures. Finally, independent and pro-opposition media encountered difficulties in reporting returns, prompting allegations of government interference. Nasa Borba on 4 November reported that Podgorica's Radio Antena M, suffered a cut in its power supply while attempting to report electoral irregularities. A representative of the station has said that deliberate arson may have caused the broadcast interruption. -- Stan Markotich

    [09] MACEDONIA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY.

    A new penal code went into effect on 1 November, AFP reported. Crimes that used to receive capital punishment now carry maximum penalties of 20 years to life in prison. The new penal code also includes offenses that were formerly unspecified such as computer fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [10] SLOVENIAN UPDATE.

    Relations between Ljubljana and Rome continue to improve, Reuters reported on 1 November. Italy and Slovenia reached an accord on the preservation of grave sites of ethnic Italians who died on what is now Slovenian territory during the Second World War. In other news, Joze Smole, a long-time confidante of socialist Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, died in a Ljubljana hospital on 31 October, STA reported. Smole, who was 69, served in a number posts, including that of Belgrade's ambassador to Moscow. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] ROMANIAN ELECTIONS LOOK TIGHT.

    Voter turnout was just above 70% in the country's third post-communist presidential and general elections on 3 November, Romanian and foreign media reported the same day. Preliminary results are expected on 4 November, but various exit polls indicate that the opposition might for the first time win the elections. The Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) garnered 32-36% of the votes. CDR is followed by the currently ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania with 21-25%, and the Social Democratic Union with 11-13%. Among presidential candidates, incumbent President Ion Iliescu and CDR candidate Emil Constantinescu appear set for a neck-to-neck struggle. A runoff for the presidency on 17 November appears inevitable. -- Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato

    [12] ROMANIAN SECRET SERVICE HEAD SAYS HE WILL QUIT.

    Before voting on 3 November, Virgil Magureanu, head of the Romanian Intelligence Service, suggested that he might quit his job under the new legislature, Mediafax and Reuters reported. Magureanu said he would "vote for the change," without elaborating. Asked about a recent spy scandal in France provoked by revelations about former French Defence Minister Charles Hernu having allegedly worked for communist secret services, Magureanu said that the scandal might damage Romania's image in the West and hamper its efforts to join NATO. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] TWO TO RUN IN DNIESTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    The central electoral commission of the self-declared Dniester republic registered two candidates in the presidential race, scheduled for 22 December, BASA-press and Reuters reported on 2 November. The two are incumbent president Igor Smirnov and Vladimir Malakhov, a businessman who heads the Chamber of Local Industries. Six others who intended to run for presidency, including head of the Tiraspol legislature Vitalii Glebov, failed to collect the required 10,000 signatures. Smirnov, a Soviet-era industrial manager who used to run one of the region's biggest factories, is viewed as the sure winner. -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] OPPOSITION CANDIDATE WINS BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    Petar Stoyanov of the united opposition and his running mate, Todor Kavaldzhiev, on 3 November won the second round of the Bulgarian presidential elections, beating Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Bulgarian media reported. According to preliminary figures issued by the Central Electoral commission the following day, Stoyanov received 59.96% of the vote, and Marazov, 40.04%. Turnout was put at 61.72%. Stoyanov garnered 70-75% in Sofia and Plovdiv, and around two thirds of the vote in the other big towns. On a nationwide scale, Stoyanov also won by a slight majority in small towns and villages, which have tended to vote for the BSP. Marazov scored a narrow victory in the traditionally leftist northwest. Stoyanov will replace outgoing President Zhelyu Zhelev on 22 January 1997. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia

    [15] SOCIALIST REACTIONS TO STOYANOV'S VICTORY.

    Prime Minister and BSP Chairman Zhan Videnov at an election night press conference refused to state whether there will be personal consequences within the government or the party as a result of the lost presidential elections. Marazov and Bokova also did not say whether they will resign from the government after a campaign in which they distanced themselves to a large extent from the government and Videnov, but they implied they will stay on.Trud reported that at a meeting of the BSP Executive Bureau earlier the same day Videnov said he will ask for a confidence vote as party leader at an extraordinary party congress to take place by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Kontinent reported that a BSP plenary meeting was set for 11 November to discuss the election results. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia

    [16] UPDATED FINAL ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS.

    According to the latest figures, given to Reuters on 2 November by Central Election Commission, the Democratic Party won 58 out of 64 town halls and 267 out of 310 communes. The Socialist Party won four town halls, one mayoralty went to an independent candidate and another to a candidate from a rightist coalition between the Monarchy Legality Movement and the National Front. The Socialists won 15 rural communes, five were won by independent candidates and nine by the ethnic Greek Human Rights party. The National Front won four communes, the Republican Party six, the Social Democratic Union two and the Christian Democrats one. Turnout in both rounds on October 20 and 27 was 72%. Meanwhile, the Center Pole Coalition said the vote was fraudulent, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 2 November. -- 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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