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OMRI: Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 222, 96-11-15

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 222, 15 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] U.S., RUSSIAN DELEGATIONS IN ARMENIA.
  • [02] BEREZOVSKII VISITS TBILISI . . .
  • [03] . . . AND BAKU.
  • [04] INDEPENDENT TV, RADIO FACE NEW RULE IN KAZAKSTAN.
  • [05] NIYAZOV IN TURKEY FOR MEDICAL CHECK-UP.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] ANOTHER HIGH-PROFILE MEETING ABOUT BOSNIA.
  • [07] IFOR ROUNDS UP WEAPONS IN NORTHEAST BOSNIA.
  • [08] U.S. TO COMMIT TROOPS TO BOSNIA FORCE?
  • [09] STANDOFF CONTINUES OVER SACKING OF GEN. MLADIC.
  • [10] CROATIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS WITHOUT OPPOSITION.
  • [11] SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES, LOCAL ELECTIONS, AND THE MEDIA.
  • [12] CHALLENGER LEADING IN CAMPAIGN FOR ROMANIAN PRESIDENT.
  • [13] REACTIONS TO THE RUSSIAN RESOLUTION ON THE DNIESTER REGION.
  • [14] REFORMERS THREATEN TO LEAVE BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY.
  • [15] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT INVALIDATES MEDIA LAW.
  • [16] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WANTS REFERENDUM TO ELECT CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] U.S., RUSSIAN DELEGATIONS IN ARMENIA.

    James Collins, special advisor to the U.S. secretary of state on the newly independent states, arrived on 14 November in Yerevan from Baku where he held talks with the Azerbaijani leadership (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1996), Armenian and Russian media reported. Collins and Armenian Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanyan agreed that the Caucasus region needs a security system to settle conflicts. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Security Council Secretary Boris Berezovskii, who is also visiting the Transcaucasus, met the same day with President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, AFP reported. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] BEREZOVSKII VISITS TBILISI . . .

    Russian Deputy Security Council Secretary Boris Berezovskii, on his second visit to Georgia in less than a week, met for two hours behind closed doors with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on 14 November to discuss the situation in Abkhazia, Chechnya, and the North Caucasus in general, Russian media reported. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] . . . AND BAKU.

    Berezovskii then flew to Baku where he discussed Russian-Azerbaijani relations, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the situation in Chechnya with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev, noting that the "urgent" problems of the region are linked and should be tackled jointly. Berezovskii also tried to persuade Aliev of the advantages of exporting Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea oil via the "northern" pipeline that runs through Dagestan and Chechnya, according to Turan. Aliev told TRT on 14 November, however, that he would prefer that Azerbaijan's "strategic" (as opposed to "early") oil be exported through the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, but that unnamed members of the consortium engaged in exploiting the deposits in question oppose that option. -- Liz Fuller

    [04] INDEPENDENT TV, RADIO FACE NEW RULE IN KAZAKSTAN.

    The Kazakstani State Property Committee has notified independent TV and radio stations in Kazakstan that their contracts with the transmission center are not valid and will have to be redrawn, Ekho Moskvy reported on 10 November. Kazakstani officials claim the stations are broadcasting on frequencies that interfere with airline traffic control, and the government shut down three independent radio stations and two television stations on 4 November. Yevgenii Zhovtis of the Kazak-American Bureau told Ekho Moskvy that many of the stations alleged to be interfering with air traffic have been using those frequencies for four years. Zhovtis said the government is holding a public tender for frequencies at the beginning of next year and it appears that many independent stations will not have the means to buy a frequency. -- Bruce Pannier

    [05] NIYAZOV IN TURKEY FOR MEDICAL CHECK-UP.

    Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov arrived in Turkey on 14 November for a medical check-up, according to Reuters and RFE/RL. Although he is also there to meet with Turkish officials, Niyazov said he will be in the Istanbul branch of the Houston clinic for four days of post-operative treatment. In 1994, Niyazov had a blood clot removed from his leg at a hospital in Houston, Texas. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] ANOTHER HIGH-PROFILE MEETING ABOUT BOSNIA.

    Representatives of the five-member international Contact Group met in Paris on 14 November with the Bosnian presidency members, the BBC and Reuters reported. The three presidency members agreed on a 13-point, two-year stabilization program that stresses the right of refugees to go home, the need for democratization, the central role of joint institutions, and the importance of cooperating with the Hague-based war crimes tribunal. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher threatened sanctions against those who do not comply. The Paris meeting is but the latest in a series of gatherings since early in the wars of the Yugoslav succession in which international diplomats meet with regional politicians in a West European venue. The former Yugoslavs reaffirm promises they have made and broken before, and then they go home and do as they please. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] IFOR ROUNDS UP WEAPONS IN NORTHEAST BOSNIA.

    U.S. IFOR troops on 14 November confiscated six truckloads of arms from the Bosnian army's 254th Brigade in the Celic-Koraj area. Russian IFOR troops took a smaller quantity of weapons from the nearby Serbian police. The worst fighting in Bosnia since the Dayton agreement was signed took place there earlier in the week when Muslim refugees tried to go back to their homes on Serb-held territory in keeping with the peace treaty. NATO blamed both sides but charged that the Muslims staged a deliberate provocation with the help of the Sarajevo authorities and the local military. The weapons seizure is aimed at preventing the refugees from rearming and at discouraging the army from organizing similar ventures with other refugees, VOA noted. Muslims tried to block the trucks and, as in previous days, subjected the U.S. personnel to "considerable abuse." The Bosnian army then charged IFOR with staging provocations against it and against its commander, Gen. Rasim Delic, Oslobodjenje reported on 15 November. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] U.S. TO COMMIT TROOPS TO BOSNIA FORCE?

    NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said on 14 November that the U.S. has signaled it will commit troops to a follow-on force in Bosnia, AFP reported. Solana, who met a day earlier with U.S. Vice President Al Gore, said he expected President Bill Clinton to make a decision very soon. The total force is envisaged as 20,000-30,000 and will replace the existing force when its mandate ends in December. Solana said the U.S. contingent would number about 7,500, while the proportions of troops of other countries would remain almost the same. At least 12 of NATO's 16 members support such a decision, according to Solana, who said he wants to convene a meeting of the NATO council on 18 November to make a formal decision. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [09] STANDOFF CONTINUES OVER SACKING OF GEN. MLADIC.

    Bosnian Serb television ran a commentary on 14 November indirectly attacking cashiered Gen. Ratko Mladic and his loyalists for the first time, AFP reported. The broadcast stressed the importance of civilian control over the military and noted that Mladic had resisted the civilian authorities since 1993 and often communicated with them only through statements and the media. Mladic's backers, for their part, told the Belgrade daily Blic that their dismissals had been purely political. Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic urged the civilian authorities "to agree to a solution with us and avoid the spilling of Serbian blood." -- Patrick Moore

    [10] CROATIAN PARLIAMENT MEETS WITHOUT OPPOSITION.

    The Croatian parliament met on 14 November in the absence of opposition deputies, who a day earlier had announced a 30-day boycott over the parliament's vote to reject discussion on their proposal for solving the crisis of the Zagreb city council (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1996), Novi List reported the next day. Meanwhile, as a result of several weeks' negotiations, the government on 14 November signed an agreement with the Croatian Association of Unions, Vecernji List reported. The government promised no more interference in the wage policy. Salaries are set to increase from January 1997 with no restrictions from the government's side. The unions had threatened many strikes unless the government met their demands. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [11] SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES, LOCAL ELECTIONS, AND THE MEDIA.

    Members of Serbia's opposition parties said they are having a nearly impossible time communicating their messages to voters ahead of the 17 November run-off municipal elections. Members of the Zajedno coalition said that state-run television flatly refuses to broadcast their political ads. Also, on 12 November the Democratic Party (DS) alleged that Serbian Information Minister Aleksandar Tijanic personally intervened and placed a ban on BK Telecom television's airing of a Zajedno ad, Beta reported. "This is another severe violation of the law and is evidence of the ... media darkness that is in force in Serbia," the DS statement charged. -- Stan Markotich

    [12] CHALLENGER LEADING IN CAMPAIGN FOR ROMANIAN PRESIDENT.

    Campaigning for the second round of the presidential election due on 17 November officially ended on 14 November. The last opinion poll allowed to be published confirms challenger Emil Constantinescu's lead over incumbent President Ion Iliescu. While Constantinescu received 49% and Iliescu 34%, 17% of the voters are still undecided. The poll also showed that 65% of the population view with confidence the change in government. Meanwhile, international media noted that former tennis star Ilie Nastase, who lost two bids for public office on behalf of Iliescu's Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), said on 13 November he is quitting the PDSR and politics in general. In an open letter published in Romanian newspapers, he claimed he had been "dragged into a political quagmire." -- Zsolt Mato

    [13] REACTIONS TO THE RUSSIAN RESOLUTION ON THE DNIESTER REGION.

    A Russian State Duma resolution proposing that the government declare the Dniester region a zone of special strategic interests for Russia has provoked a sharp reaction in Chisinau, Moldovan media reported on 14 November. The resolution, adopted a day earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November), was dismissed by Moldova's Deputy Foreign Minister Vasile Sova as interference in his country's internal affairs. Parliament Deputy Chairman Dumitru Diacov said the motion may complicate relations between Chisinau and Moscow. But the Russian ambassador in Moldova, Aleksandr Papkin, expressed hopes that the document will not damage bilateral relations. For his part, Grigorii Marakutsa, chairman of the Dniester Supreme Soviet, welcomed the resolution. -- Dan Ionescu

    [14] REFORMERS THREATEN TO LEAVE BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY.

    Andrey Raychev, a leading member of the Alliance for a Social Democracy (OSD) within the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), on 14 November said the reformist wing may split from the BSP if no "decisive steps toward social-democratization" are taken at the upcoming BSP congress on 21-22 December, Bulgarian media reported. "We may look for ways to structure the Left outside the BSP," he said. He said that OSD representatives and the leaders of the Alternative Socialist Alliance-Independents decided to establish contacts between different groups of social-democratic orientation. Meanwhile, BSP Deputy Boyan Kirov announced the formation of a "new leftist current" in the BSP as a reaction to the government's "extreme rightist politics." -- Stefan Krause

    [15] BULGARIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT INVALIDATES MEDIA LAW.

    The Constitutional Court on 14 November invalidated 15 provisions of the electronic media law, RFE/RL and Demokratsiya reported. The judges declared unconstitutional the formation of an 11-seat National Radio and TV Council based on political criteria and on parliamentary representation. The provisions that the council, a state organ, approve program schemes and program content and have the right to cancel programs were also declared unconstitutional. "As I was reading that provision, I thought it was written not in 1996, but in 1956," said Judge Todor Todorov. Articles depriving the judiciary of free airtime and banning journalists from giving "subjective" commentaries were also invalidated. The law had been vetoed by President Zhelyu Zhelev in August. After the Socialist majority overruled the veto, 74 opposition deputies asked the court to invalidate 22 provisions of the law. -- Maria Koinova

    [16] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WANTS REFERENDUM TO ELECT CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY.

    The Center Pole opposition coalition and the Democratic Party of the Right proposed that a new constitution be developed by a constitutional assembly, Koha Jone reported on 15 November. When it votes for the assembly, the electorate should also decide about the form of the future state--monarchy or presidential or parliamentary republic. The Socialists supported the initiative, but it is unlikely that the governing Democrats will agree. They hold the two-thirds majority necessary to pass a constitution. In other news, the leader of the National Unity Party, Idajet Beqiri, has sent a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton, asking Clinton to support his release from prison. Beqiri was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against humanity committed during the communist era, but he says he is a political prisoner, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 15 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

    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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