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OMRI: Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 226, 96-11-21

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 226, 21 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH PEACE TALKS.
  • [02] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN ARMENIA.
  • [03] GEORGIA REINFORCES ITS BORDER TROOPS.
  • [04] KAZAKSTAN AGREES WITH UZBEKISTAN, KYRGYZSTAN ON GAS DEBTS.
  • [05] KAZAKSTANI OPPOSITION LEADERS CHARGED WITH VIOLATING PUBLIC ORDER.
  • [06] KYRGYZSTAN TIGHTENS CONTROLS OVER RELIGIOUS GROUPS.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] MASS PROTEST IN ZAGREB OVER SHUTDOWN OF INDEPENDENT RADIO.
  • [08] BOSNIAN SERB POWER STRUGGLE UNRESOLVED?
  • [09] BOSNIAN, CROATIAN SHORTS.
  • [10] SERBIAN DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND MILOSEVIC RESPECT ELECTION RESULTS.
  • [11] OSCE OPTIMISTIC AFTER MACEDONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [12] INFLATION IN ROMANIA REACHES 45%.
  • [13] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES EXCHANGE SWIPES.
  • [14] MAIN BULGARIAN OPPOSITION GROUP DIVIDED OVER PROPOSAL TO BECOME PARTY.
  • [15] BULGARIAN LEV HITS NEW ALL-TIME LOW.
  • [16] CAMPAIGN AGAINST DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEPUTY IN ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN MINISTER ON NAGORNO-KARABAKH PEACE TALKS.

    Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov has refuted Armenian presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan's statement that Azerbaijan refused to participate in drafting a declaration of principles on a settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 November 1996), Turan reported on 20 November. Hasanov said a draft declaration proposed by the Armenian side contradicts the "interests of Azerbaijan," because it does not respect his country's territorial integrity. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONDEMNS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN ARMENIA.

    The European Parliament has passed a resolution challenging the legitimacy of the 22 September Armenian presidential election and calling for a new round of elections to be held in those electoral districts where serious violations took place, Noyan Tapan reported on 20 November. The resolution condemned the crackdown on the opposition and the media and called on the Armenian government to adhere to democratic principles. -- Emil Danielyan

    [03] GEORGIA REINFORCES ITS BORDER TROOPS.

    Georgia has sent seven warships to patrol its territorial waters amid reports that it plans to deploy an 800-strong police unit along the border with its breakaway Black Sea region of Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 November, citing the Georgian Defense Ministry. A Defense Ministry official described the move as "planned combat duty," yet some observers believe it is connected with the upcoming parliamentary elections in Abkhazia that have been denounced by Georgia and the international community. Georgia does not recognize the legitimacy of holding such elections since some 200, 000 ethnic Georgian refugees who fled the region in 1993 are barred from participating in the vote. -- Emil Danielyan

    [04] KAZAKSTAN AGREES WITH UZBEKISTAN, KYRGYZSTAN ON GAS DEBTS.

    Kazakstan has signed an agreement with Uzbekistan in Tashkent on paying off its $24 million debt for Uzbek gas, Kazakhstanskaya pravda reported on 19 November. In October, Uzbekistan withheld gas deliveries due to nonpayments and the Kazakstani capital, Almaty, received only half of what it needed for that month, leading to a severe gas deficiency in many households. Besides direct monetary compensation to pay for Uzbek gas, Kazakstan also offered to supply gas from Caspian Sea regions of Kazakstan to western Uzbekistan. Kazakstan is also close to completing a deal with Kyrgyzstan on electricity supplies to southern Kazakstan. The Kyrgyz have agreed to defer Kazakstan's $8 million debt for Kyrgyz electricity but prices for electricity will now be higher. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty and Bruce Pannier

    [05] KAZAKSTANI OPPOSITION LEADERS CHARGED WITH VIOLATING PUBLIC ORDER.

    The Kazakstani government has accused Leonid Solomin, head of the independent confederation of trade unions, of "violating public order" and conducting "unlawful actions" during a recent anti-government rally in Almaty (see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 November 1996), KTK TV reported on 20 October. Police have laid similar charges against Peter Svoik, the co- chairman of the opposition Azamat Movement. Before the rally, President Nursultan Nazarbayev had called for the jailing of "all violators of public stability." Meanwhile, the opposition applied to Almaty municipal authorities for permission to hold another demonstration on 1 December. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [06] KYRGYZSTAN TIGHTENS CONTROLS OVER RELIGIOUS GROUPS.

    Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev has ordered all religious groups in Kyrgyzstan to register with the proper authorities within a month, ITAR- TASS reported on 18 November. A source in the Justice Ministry claimed that there are more than 200 religious organizations in the country but only 47 of them are registered. The head of the State Commission on Religious Affairs, Emil Kaptagayev, said the registration of the groups would allow his commission to "compare the tasks and aims of the religious organizations not registered so far with Kyrgyz laws as well as the principles of state security." The Kyrgyz parliament is due to review a new law on religion at the end of this year. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] MASS PROTEST IN ZAGREB OVER SHUTDOWN OF INDEPENDENT RADIO.

    The Croatian authorities announced on 20 November that they will not renew the license of the popular Radio 101, Novi List reported. Radio 101 is probably the only independent station there that deals with news and politics as well as broadcasting rock music. Several thousand people then staged a protest rally in which opposition politicians, journalists, and union leaders blasted the government's decision, while an army captain renounced his rank and medals, Reuters noted. U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith and the State Department also criticized the move, saying it raises basic questions about freedom of expression. Nino Pavic, a government loyalist who was awarded the frequency license for his planned Radio Globus 101, renounced the concession, saying he did not want to be seen as a threat to media freedom. The city branch of the governing Croatian Democratic Community also hinted that the government's decision might not be final. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] BOSNIAN SERB POWER STRUGGLE UNRESOLVED?

    Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic held a four-hour meeting with cashiered army chief Gen. Ratko Mladic at his headquarters in Han Pijesak, Nasa Borba reported on 21 November. A statement from Mladic's office said there was no information on the contents of the talks. Plavsic has insisted that the general and his 80 loyalists must go, but Mladic is believed to be trying to maintain his influence in the army from behind the scenes. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serb army (VRS) began destroying 13 tanks, 30 mortars, and two armored personnel carriers in Banja Luka as part of a month-long program to meet arms reduction quotas. The deadline for meeting all the limitations is the end of 1997, AFP reported. The OSCE criticized the Croats and Muslims for not having started their own program, the VOA noted. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] BOSNIAN, CROATIAN SHORTS.

    NATO troops confiscated illegal mines, rockets, and explosives from the Croats at Orasje in northern Bosnia, news agencies said on 20 November. In Ploce, a $100 million U.S. arms shipment is being unloaded, Oslobodjenje reported on 21 November. In the village of Hajvaci near Mahala in northeast Bosnia, 12 houses were destroyed by anti-tank mines. The formerly Muslim village is on Serb-held territory in an area where Muslim refugees have been trying to go home, as they are entitled to do under the Dayton agreement. In Zagreb, Croatian and Slavonian Serb representatives signed several documents on the reintegration of eastern Slavonia into Croatia, Vecernje list wrote. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] SERBIAN DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND MILOSEVIC RESPECT ELECTION RESULTS.

    An estimated 5,000 people gathered outside the Serbian parliament on 20 November to show solidarity with deputies from the Democratic Movement of Serbia (DEPOS) and the Democratic Party who are on a hunger strike inside the building. The strikers allege that the ruling authorities are guilty of political fraud, as demonstrated most recently by their refusal to recognize the returns of the 17 November local elections. DEPOS leader Vuk Draskovic told demonstrators outside the legislature that defending the 17 November victory was critical and that government tampering with returns amounted to "a great crime against the democratic will of the Serbian people." The opposition won the 12 largest districts, which account for roughly 60% of the republic's population. Both the strikers and leaders of the opposition Zajedno coalition have sent letters to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic appealing for him to stop undermining the election results. -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

    [11] OSCE OPTIMISTIC AFTER MACEDONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    OSCE observers on 20 November said they found few flaws in the first round of the Macedonian local elections on 17 November, Reuters reported. Most problems involved mistakes or omissions in electoral lists. Observers said that in some stations they monitored, 10-20% of the voters were not registered. EU monitors had previously said around 25% could not vote because their names were not on the electoral lists. On the other hand, the OSCE monitors said 89% of voters asked felt the voting process was conducted properly. "The information gathered and the friendly contacts we had ... give us an optimistic outlook on the development of the country's democratic future," the OSCE statement said. -- Stefan Krause

    [12] INFLATION IN ROMANIA REACHES 45%.

    The National Statistics Commission reports that the annual rate of inflation in Romania has reached 45%, Radio Bucharest reported on 20 November. Inflation rose 3.4% in October compared with September and has increased by 35.5% since December 1995. Outgoing Finance Minister Florin Georgescu said the state's hard-currency reserves stand at $800 million, while the total amount deposited in Romanian banks is $2.1 billion. The country's foreign debt on 30 September reached $7 billion. -- Zsolt Mato

    [13] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES EXCHANGE SWIPES.

    President Mircea Snegur has accused parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi, his rival in the 1 December presidential run-off, of usurping legislative power, Infotag reported on 20 November. He pointed to Lucinschi's decision to cancel a parliament session on 20 November, which was to discuss the taping of a conversation between Snegur's campaign chief and Moldova's ambassador to Germany, Alexandru Burian (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 November 1996). In turn, Lucinschi said a Snegur victory in the second round would "stir up confrontation in society" because of Snegur's intention to transform Moldova into a presidential republic. In other news, Premier Andrei Sangheli made a contradictory statement saying he was ready to resign after the presidential elections but would give up his mandate as prime minister only "when the time comes." Sangheli's mandate expires in 1998. He also accused Snegur of having falsified the election results. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] MAIN BULGARIAN OPPOSITION GROUP DIVIDED OVER PROPOSAL TO BECOME PARTY.

    Many organizations belonging to the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) have reacted unfavorably to a SDS National Executive Council proposal the previous day to transform the organization from a coalition of parties and movements to a single party, Bulgarian media reported. Leaders of 11 of the 15 SDS member organizations said the move was untimely, adding that early elections should first be called and won. Former SDS leader Filip Dimitrov supported that position, while SDS deputy leader Nadezhda Mihaylova stressed the benefits of transforming the union into a party. Meanwhile, seven member organizations announced that they have formed a "Union for National Renaissance" within the SDS before the presidential elections and that the SDS leadership knew of the idea well in advance. -- Stefan Krause

    [15] BULGARIAN LEV HITS NEW ALL-TIME LOW.

    The lev was trading at exchange offices around the country at 331-332 to the dollar, up from 290 leva the previous day, Pari reported on 21 November. According to Standart, the dollar was trading for 360-370 leva. In some towns, most goods were marked in dollars. Pari said there were three reasons for the hike: rumors about an unnamed company seeking to buy large sums of hard currency, lack of intervention from the Bulgarian National Bank, and the withdrawal earlier this week of several billion leva from the State Savings Bank. Kontinent predicted that by the end of the year, the lev will be trading at 600 leva to $1. In other news, electricity and coal prices are to go up by 14% on 1 December, following a 9.7% increase last week. -- Maria Koinova

    [16] CAMPAIGN AGAINST DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEPUTY IN ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT.

    Democratic Party deputies have called on the parliament to lift Azem Hajdari's immunity and to remove him from the chairmanship of the parliamentary commission on the secret service and police. They also accused Hajdari, who is also a Democratic legislator, of deliberately not purging the secret service SHIK of some communist-era secret service agents in 1992. They called for his removal from the party's caucus, Rilindja Demokratike reported on 19 November. Hajdari, meanwhile, said he will organize a congress of his breakaway Independent Trade Unions in December and organize a strike, Koha Jone reported on 20 November. Elsewhere, police in Gjirokaster arrested Hajdari's driver without explanation, according to Dita Informacion on 21 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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