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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 216, 96-11-07

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 216, 7 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER TO CONTINUE ECONOMIC REFORMS.
  • [02] NEW GEORGIAN OPPOSITION COMMITTEE CALLS FOR RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL.
  • [03] LEGITIMACY OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER QUESTIONED.
  • [04] PRINCE CHARLES BEGINS CENTRAL ASIAN TRIP.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] MUSLIM POLICE TORCH SERB HOMES?
  • [06] MUSLIMS AND CROATS DISCUSS DELEGATION OF FEDERAL POSTS.
  • [07] SOLANA WANTS FULL NATO FORCE IN BOSNIA NEXT YEAR.
  • [08] FEDERAL YUGOSLAV ELECTION FINALS.
  • [09] HOW MUCH ARE BELGRADE'S ARMS WORTH?
  • [10] ILIESCU PLEDGES STABILITY IF RE-ELECTED.
  • [11] BULGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE.
  • [12] GAZPROM TO AVOID BULGARIA IN ROUTING GAS PIPELINE.
  • [13] ALBANIAN PRESIDENT CHARGES COMMUNIST-ERA SECRET SERVICE WITH BOMB BLAST.
  • [14] MYSTERY SURROUNDS INVESTIGATIONS INTO ALBANIAN TERRORIST GROUP.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER TO CONTINUE ECONOMIC REFORMS.

    Armen Sarkisyan said he will continue the economic reforms of his predecessor, Hrant Bagratyan, with a "new impetus" and uphold the country's independence, international media reported on 6 November. According to Sarkisyan, Armenia should enter the 21st century with a competitive and modern economy so that certain unspecified "regional economic and political forces cannot swallow our state." Bagratyan's replacement is seen as an attempt by President Levon Ter- Petrossyan to soothe Armenia's tense internal political situation. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan told RFE/RL on 6 November that he and Foreign Minister Vahan Papazyan are ready to step down. Siradeghyan said he is ready to take over as mayor of Yerevan and suggested that Alexander Arzumanyan, Armenia's permanent representative to the UN, could succeed Papazyan. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] NEW GEORGIAN OPPOSITION COMMITTEE CALLS FOR RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL.

    Representatives of 18 Georgian opposition parties have formed a committee to lobby for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Segodnya reported on 5 November. The committee is an offshoot of the National Liberation Movement of Georgia founded several months ago by 14 political parties not represented in the present parliament (see ). -- Liz Fuller

    [03] LEGITIMACY OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER QUESTIONED.

    The Constitutional Court has begun reviewing the selection of Mukar Cholponbayev as speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported on 5 November. Cholponbayev has been in trouble over the transfer of more than three million som ($200,000) from the parliamentary budget to a firm partly owned by his wife. He nonetheless received a vote of confidence from the Legislative Assembly on 24 September. When Cholponbayev was chosen speaker in March 1995, only 29 deputies were present and 17 voted for him. But, the number of deputies in the Legislative Assembly is 35, making 17 votes less than a majority. -- Bruce Pannier

    [04] PRINCE CHARLES BEGINS CENTRAL ASIAN TRIP.

    The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, arrived in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on 6 November, kicking off a six-day tour of four Central Asian states, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported. The first member of the British royal family to visit the region, Charles will travel to Kazakstan on 7 November, to Kyrgyzstan on 9 November, and wind up the trip in Uzbekistan. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] MUSLIM POLICE TORCH SERB HOMES?

    A NATO spokesman said that IFOR personnel in a helicopter saw Muslim police speed away in a car from burning Serbian homes near Kljuc in northwestern Bosnia. The Canadian troops observed that the car returned to a police station in the area, which a Muslim-Croat offensive captured just over a year ago. NATO is investigating, Nasa Borba and the BBC reported on 7 November. In a related incident, the UNHCR said that the Serbs may have mined 96 Muslim homes near Prijedor on the basis of a UNHCR-supplied list of Muslims wanting to return to their homes. And in Mostar, Muslim refugees from Capljina protested the mining of 12 Muslim homes in the Croatian-controlled region to federal President Kresimir Zubak, Dnevni avaz noted. The Dayton agreement guarantees the right of all refugees to go home, but nationalists on all three sides are trying to block them. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] MUSLIMS AND CROATS DISCUSS DELEGATION OF FEDERAL POSTS.

    The two governing parties in the Bosnian Federation met on 5 November in Sarajevo to discuss the assignment of leading posts in the federal government, Onasa reported. The Croat Democratic Community (HDZ) and the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) have to decide on candidates for the post of federal president and vice president, prime minister, parliament speaker and government ministers. The SDA allegedly wants Muslims to hold the post of president and prime minister. But Bosnian Presidency Croat member Kresimir Zubak suggested a principle under which the federal president and prime minister will not be of the same nationality. Zubak said that Muslims were federal prime ministers for two terms, and the post should be now commissioned to a Croat, Onasa reported. Meanwhile, the federal House of Representatives held its inaugural session the next day and adopted a binational flag, coat-of- arms and seal, Oslobodjenje reported on 7 November. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [07] SOLANA WANTS FULL NATO FORCE IN BOSNIA NEXT YEAR.

    NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said on 6 November in Bonn that he hoped all 33 countries taking part in the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia would agree to join a follow-on force after the current mandate expires on 20 December, Reuters reported. Solana said that NATO's obligation in Bosnia is to help cement peace and aid in reconstruction. German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe said Germany would start to train some 3,000 soldiers for a new Bosnian mission. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said he was confident the U.S. force would be part of a new mission, although Solana did not specifically mention it. NATO is considering plans for a new 20,000-30,000-man multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia once the IFOR mission ends. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [08] FEDERAL YUGOSLAV ELECTION FINALS.

    The leftist coalition headed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his wife Mirjana Markovic, and its potential supporters, have failed to win a two- thirds majority in the 138-seat federal parliament. A two-thirds vote there can assure a potential candidate election to the post of federal president, an office Milosevic may seek when his mandate as Serbian president expires in late 1997. Nasa Borba on 7 November reported Milosevic's leftist coalition holds 64 seats, and a likely ally, the Democratic Socialist Party, has 20. It is Montenegro's ruling party. Milosevic's main opposition, the Zajedno or Together coalition, has 22 seats, the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party 16, and the remainder are parceled out among six minor parties and coalitions. Milosevic may curry favor with the minor parties as a way of gaining the support of 91 deputies in a bid for the federal presidency. -- Stan Markotich

    [09] HOW MUCH ARE BELGRADE'S ARMS WORTH?

    Federal Yugoslavia could earn up to $200 million by selling its surplus arms, Onasa, citing Nedeljni Telegraf, reported on 6 November. According to the terms of the Dayton accord, Belgrade must dispose of the weapons before year's end. The report says federal Yugoslav authorities have gone on record pledging the weapons will be destroyed and that Belgrade has already allocated about $10 million "for dismantling and shredding expenses." Onasa also reported several domestic and international companies, as well as countries in Africa, are interested in making purchases, and have floated "tempting offers." -- Stan Markotich

    [10] ILIESCU PLEDGES STABILITY IF RE-ELECTED.

    Romanian President Ion Iliescu said on 6 November, that, if reelected in the runoff to the presidential election on 17 November, he would be the "guarantor of [political] stability" in Romania. Iliescu launched thinly-veiled attacks at the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), saying there are "too many ambiguities" in CDR's policies and that "radical groups" had too much influence within that alliance. The CDR won the parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, cabinet negotiations between the CDR and the Social Democratic Union (USD) continued, with the USD reportedly insisting on portfolios of foreign affairs, defense, labor, tourism, and telecommunications. Also on 6 November, the Central Electoral Bureau announced that more than two million ballots were declared invalid, which amounts to some 5% of the total number of votes cast. -- Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato

    [11] BULGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE.

    Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and the Sofia branch leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Nikola Koychev, are the frontrunners to succeed Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Standart reported on 7 November. Koychev, who is also chairman of the Parliamentary Economics Commission, said he was ready to take over if necessary, while Pirinski did not comment. Former BSP leader Aleksandar Lilov told Duma that the BSP must reform itself and will disintegrate as a political force if no new government is formed soon. Local party leaders increasingly call for a national conference of party congress. Meanwhile, President-elect Petar Stoyanov on 6 November resigned as deputy chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS), as deputy chair of the SDS parliamentary faction, and as parliamentary deputy. The Central Electoral Commission confirmed that he won the presidential elections with 59.73% against 40.27% for Culture Minister Ivan Marazov of the BSP. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] GAZPROM TO AVOID BULGARIA IN ROUTING GAS PIPELINE.

    Russia's Gazprom decided on 5 November to route a new pipeline under the Black Sea via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and beyond, avoiding Bulgaria, which will now miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars annually in fees, Standart reported on 6 November, citing ITAR-TASS. The paper reports that a former Russian diplomat in Bulgaria said the Bulgarian "government finally has to understand that it cannot fool around with Russia." Experts believe Bulgaria's failure to approve by 15 October a proposed arrangement for a routing through Bulgaria contributed to Gazprom's decision. Gazprom also views Turkey as a more financially solvent partner. The news is a blow to Premier Zhan Videnov, whose Bulgarian Socialist Party rival, Andrey Lukanov--who was assassinated on 2 October--had close connections with Gazprom. -- Michael Wyzan

    [13] ALBANIAN PRESIDENT CHARGES COMMUNIST-ERA SECRET SERVICE WITH BOMB BLAST.

    Albanian President Sali Berisha blamed former Sigurimi agents for the bomb attack that destroyed appeals court chief judge Prel Martini's house on 6 November, injuring five people. Berisha said: "I guarantee the ... determination of the Albanian state to face crime forcefully and give terrorists what they deserve," reported Reuters. Prime Minister Alexander Meksi linked the bombing to a trial on 5 November in which Martini upheld long prison sentences of nine senior communist-era officials. Police said they did not know what kind of device caused the explosion. A special group has been set up to investigate. Interior Minister Halil Shamata said that police evidence pointed to a link between the attack and an alleged terrorist group called Revenge of Justice. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [14] MYSTERY SURROUNDS INVESTIGATIONS INTO ALBANIAN TERRORIST GROUP.

    The Albanian daily Koha Jone on 6 November raised serious doubts about allegations by Interior Minister Halit Shamata that Klement Kolaneci, son-in-law of late communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was in possession of about $1 million that was allegedly stolen by the mysterious Revenge of Justice group. According to a protocol, signed by Kolaneci and two policemen, a safe found in Kolaneci's office contained only about 1040 lek ($10), 16,000 Greek drachmas ($67) and several documents. Kolaneci was only interrogated once, but not about any of the charges against him. He also has been denied free access to his lawyers and only met them twice briefly. Meanwhile, Kolaneci should have been released, since no court hearing concerning the legitimacy of his pre-trial detention took place within ten days, but he still remains in detention. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Steve Kettle 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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