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OMRI: Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 227, 96-11-22

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 227, 22 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS OPPOSITION APPEAL.
  • [02] EU CALLS FOR CANCELLATION OF ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.
  • [03] IRANIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN VISITS KAZAKSTAN.
  • [04] CABLE TV IN ALMATY.
  • [05] TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES HOLD BACK REBEL ADVANCE.
  • [06] RUSSIAN COMMANDER IN TAJIKISTAN DEMANDS ACTION ON TERRORISM.
  • [07] AFGHAN REFUGEES SHOW UP IN TURKMENISTAN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] BELGRADE RALLIES CONTINUE.
  • [09] OFFICIAL MEDIA COVERAGE OF FEDERAL YUGOSLAV LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [10] 100,000 DEMONSTRATE IN ZAGREB FOR RADIO.
  • [11] CROATIA'S TUDJMAN WEAK AFTER HOSPITALIZATION.
  • [12] MISTREATMENT OF SARAJEVO SERBS.
  • [13] BOSNIAN SHORTS.
  • [14] KOSOVO EDUCATION SECRETARY DIES IN CAR ACCIDENT.
  • [15] ILIESCU TO BECOME PARTY CHAIRMAN.
  • [16] FURTHER ACCUSATIONS IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.
  • [17] BULGARIAN CURRENCY CONTINUES TO PLUNGE.
  • [18] HAJDARI FIRED FROM ALBANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON SECRET SERVICE.
  • [19] ALBANIAN POLIO OUTBREAK CLAIMS 15TH VICTIM.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS OPPOSITION APPEAL.

    The Constitutional Court on 22 November rejected the opposition's appeal to annul the results of the 22 September controversial presidential election, Reuters reported, citing ITAR-TASS. Observers note that the decision, which is not subject to appeal, may trigger a new wave of mass protests by opposition supporters. Also, commenting on the resolution of the European Parliament condemning the ballot (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 November 1996), acting presidential spokesman Levon Zurabyan said "it was based on inaccurate and unverified data," ITAR-TASS reported on 21 November. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] EU CALLS FOR CANCELLATION OF ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.

    The EU has called on the leadership of Abkhazia to cancel the parliamentary election slated for 23 November, arguing that it could fuel tensions and violence in the region, Reuters reported on 22 November. It said the election should take place only after a final decision on Abkhazia's status within Georgia. According to ITAR-TASS, Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba said the multiethnic composition of the candidates legitimizes the vote. Ardzinba said he hopes Abkhazia's ethnic Georgian population will participate in the election. -- Emil Danielyan

    [03] IRANIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN VISITS KAZAKSTAN.

    The head of the Iranian Mezhlis, Ali Akbar Notik Nuri, met with Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Almaty on 22 November, Khabar TV reported. Nazarbayev emphasized Iran's "strategic importance" for Kazakstan and increasing bilateral trade, especially in view of the recent oil swap agreements signed earlier this year. Nuri also shared the achievements of the Islamic revolution in Iran, especially in fighting "pseudo-Western culture." -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [04] CABLE TV IN ALMATY.

    The joint U.S.-Kazakstani company Alma TV has announced the launch of the first cable TV station in Almaty, Kazakhstanskaya pravda reported on 21 November. About 2,000 cable TV sets will be installed during the first trial, able to broadcast more than 30 channels. The company, established by the U.S. International Telcell company and its Kazakstani partner in 1994, has already been offering satellite TV retranslating service in Almaty. The first attempt to introduce a cable system in Almaty in 1992 failed due to low market demand. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [05] TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES HOLD BACK REBEL ADVANCE.

    Tajik Defense Ministry forces repelled opposition attacks on military posts in the Khaburabad Pass on 21 November, according to Reuters and ITAR-TASS. The pass, located 300 km east of Dushanbe, overlooks the main highway running east from the capital. The Defense Ministry sent a protest to the UN observer mission, stating that this and similar attacks on Komsomolabad and in the Tavil-Dara area are a clear violation of the Tehran ceasefire agreement signed in 1994. -- Bruce Pannier

    [06] RUSSIAN COMMANDER IN TAJIKISTAN DEMANDS ACTION ON TERRORISM.

    Lt.-Gen. Viktor Zavarzin, the commander of the CIS peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan, sent a note to Tajik law enforcement agencies expressing his dissatisfaction at their efforts to combat attacks on the CIS force troops, according to ITAR-TASS on 21 November. Zavarzin's protest comes after the 19 November murder of a Tajik Defense Ministry officer, who was Russian, the abduction on the same day of the wife of a Russian serviceman, and the shooting of two soldiers from the 201st Motorized Rifle Division on 20 November. All the crimes occurred in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. -- Bruce Pannier

    [07] AFGHAN REFUGEES SHOW UP IN TURKMENISTAN.

    The Red Cross announced that 800 people fleeing the fighting in western Afghanistan have crossed into Turkmenistan, RFE/RL reported on 21 November. Red Cross spokesman Thorir Gudmundsson said the number could climb to as high as 18,000 if fighting continues near Herat. At least 50,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the fighting in the Badghis province of Afghanistan. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] BELGRADE RALLIES CONTINUE.

    Leaders of the opposition Zajedno coalition organized another rally in the city center to protest the regime's alleged tampering with the results of the 17 November local elections. Nasa Borba on 22 November estimated the rally to be the largest anti-government demonstration since 9 March 1991, attracting some tens of thousands of people. No serious incidents were reported. Demonstrators marched toward the state TV building, where well-armed riot troops could be seen. Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic summed up the proceedings by remarking that "this evening, some 100,000 people passed along the main streets of Belgrade, and all was peaceful." -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

    [09] OFFICIAL MEDIA COVERAGE OF FEDERAL YUGOSLAV LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    RTS I news on 21 November intimated that the main aim of the demonstrations was to incite mob violence and "terrorism." The broadcast also noted that while the protest leaders claimed to "defend democracy..., their [actions] and tactics serve only to undermine it." Meanwhile, Vecernje novosti on 21 November reported that the local election authorities consider the ruling Socialists to have won a majority of municipal council seats in Nis, a town earlier claimed by Zajedno. The daily observed that the situation in Uzice, which also initially seemed to have gone to the opposition, was dead-locked and would be resolved in a third round. At an earlier rally in Nis, opposition leader Vuk Draskovic expressed fears that the Socialists would engage in massive electoral fraud to win the city (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 November 1996). Meanwhile, Radio B-92 has reported that Draskovic's wife has been kidnapped. Draskovic has accused President Slobodan Milosevic of involvement. -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

    [10] 100,000 DEMONSTRATE IN ZAGREB FOR RADIO.

    One of the largest mass meetings in Croatian history took place on 21 November in Zagreb's central Jelacic square. Protesters representing a broad cross-section of society showed their support for independent Radio 101, which had lost its license the day before (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 November 1996). The authorities had meanwhile restored the license in the course of the day, but the crowds turned out in the evening anyway. What began as a protest in favor of freedom of speech turned into one for democracy as well. The independent daily Novi List wrote on 22 November of a "revolution in the air waves." It added that a wave of protests from foreign governments and NGO's had turned "a local radio [into] a global problem." Radio 101 also received a message from the 202nd rocket-artillery unit, saying "we are with you with our voices, manpower, and weapons if necessary." -- Patrick Moore

    [11] CROATIA'S TUDJMAN WEAK AFTER HOSPITALIZATION.

    President Franjo Tudjman left Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington for a brief visit to the Croatian embassy on 21 November. Croatian television showed him looking "thin and exhausted," AFP reported. Government officials and the state-run media continue only to say that he has received "treatment" for an ulcer and swollen lymph glands. CNN earlier quoted unnamed State Department officials and a Croatian diplomat as saying that he has cancer and does not have long to live. Tudjman will return to Zagreb on 23 November. -- Patrick Moore

    [12] MISTREATMENT OF SARAJEVO SERBS.

    UN police spokesman Alexander Ivanko said that Serbs are still victims of attacks in the capital. A list of incidents prepared by the Democratic Initiative of Serbs includes the bombing or torching of homes of prominent Serbs or their families and the mistreatment of elderly Serbian women. The report also notes an apparent singling out of ethnic Serb males between 16 and 60 years of age for military call-ups, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina reports in its latest newsletter. Meanwhile, the leader of the Islamic community, Mustafa Ceric, urged President Alija Izetbegovic to take action to prevent the Serbs from building on the land in Banja Luka on which mosques once stood. The Serbs systematically destroyed the all city's mosques, including two historic ones that had been registered with UNESCO. -- Patrick Moore

    [13] BOSNIAN SHORTS.

    Federal Vice President Ejup Ganic spoke of an "historic day" as $100 million-worth of U.S. weapons for the Bosnian army were unloaded in Croatia's port of Ploce. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights reported on violations of rights of refugees as they attempt to go home in keeping with the Dayton agreement. The group singled out local officials of the Republika Srpska in this context, Oslobodjenje noted on 22 November. Also in the capital, a Muslim threw a bomb into a cafe belonging to the Croatian cultural society "Napredak." The man was arrested but his motives are not known. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] KOSOVO EDUCATION SECRETARY DIES IN CAR ACCIDENT.

    Xhavit Ahmeti, education adviser to Kosovar shadow state President Ibrahim Rugova, died on 21 November when the car he was traveling in crashed with a truck near Smederevo. Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) deputy chairman Hydajet Hyseni, LDK secretary-general Fatmir Sejdiu, and the driver were injured but are out of danger, Deutsche Welle's Albanian language service reported. The four were on their way to Belgrade for meetings with Western diplomats. Ahmeti was the key negotiator in talks with the Serbian authorities that resulted in an education agreement that Rugova and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic signed on 1 September. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [15] ILIESCU TO BECOME PARTY CHAIRMAN.

    Oliviu Gherman, chairman of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), has resigned his post, Romanian TV reported on 21 November. Gherman said the "soul chairman" of the PDSR has always been outgoing President Ion Iliescu, while he himself was only a "modest substitute." He added that now that Iliescu is no longer constitutionally barred from belonging to the party, it is Gherman's "moral duty" to resign and ask the PDSR leadership to replace him with Iliescu. In other news, the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) has held separate negotiations over the new coalition with the Social Democratic Union and the National Liberal Party- Democratic Convention. Bela Marko, chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, also conducted "preliminary discussions" with the PNTCD leadership, saying his formation will not necessarily demand portfolios affecting national minorities and may receive the Health Ministry. -- Michael Shafir

    [16] FURTHER ACCUSATIONS IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.

    Moldovan President Mircea Snegur has charged that Premier Andrei Sangheli is "dragging the government into an exceptionally hazardous game." Referring to Sangheli's accusation that pro-Snegur forces rigged the elections and bought votes, he said that Sangheli's government was "anti- democratic and anti-reformist" and that Moldova's independence was "in danger," Infotag reported on 21 November. In other news, the leadership of the Edinstvo-Unitatea Party has announced it will back Snegur's rival, parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi, in the run-off scheduled for 1 December. Radio Bucharest announced that chairman of the Party of Democratic Forces Valeriu Matei, who ran in the first round, announced his party will back Snegur in the run-off. -- Michael Shafir

    [17] BULGARIAN CURRENCY CONTINUES TO PLUNGE.

    The lev on 21 November continued its free fall, RFE/RL and Reuters reported. The U.S. dollar was selling at Sofia exchange bureaus for around 405 leva, up from 360-370 the previous day. Demokratsiya reported that in Burgas, the dollar was trading at as much as 500 leva. Many private exchange offices refused to sell the dollar at all. Outside those continuing to sell hard currency, fist-fights broke out for good positions in the line. The Bulgarian National Bank's response was to increase the exchange rate from 287.91 leva to 344.29 leva for 22 November. Shop owners selling imported goods now either mark their stock in dollars or adjust prices by the hour. Meanwhile, official figures suggest an 8-10% GDP decline for this year. Director of the National Statistical Institute Zahari Karamfilov told Kontinent that he "can no longer project inflation." -- Stefan Krause

    [18] HAJDARI FIRED FROM ALBANIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON SECRET SERVICE.

    Democratic Party legislator Azem Hajdari has been dismissed as chairman of the parliamentary commission for public order and the secret service, Albanian media reported on 22 November. Hajdari fell out of favor with President Sali Berisha following his election as chairman of the breakaway Union of Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH). Hajdari has called for an extraordinary BSPSH congress for 22 September, saying he will declare war against corruption and fight for higher salaries. He compared the current situation in Albania with December 1990, when he was leading the pro- democracy student movement that brought about the end of communism, Koha Jone reported on 22 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [19] ALBANIAN POLIO OUTBREAK CLAIMS 15TH VICTIM.

    A 14-year-old boy has died of polio in Albania, the 15th victim of the outbreak, Reuters reported on 21 November. The boy had been hospitalized for the past three months. The polio outbreak has affected 137 Albanians since April. The Albanian health authorities and the World Health Organization launched a nationwide immunization campaign in October. No new cases have been reported since 12 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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