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OMRI: Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 229, 96-11-26

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 229, 26 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] NAGORNO-KARABAKH TALKS DEADLOCKED.
  • [02] MORE CRITICISM OF ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.
  • [03] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION PARTY'S OFFICE REOPENED.
  • [04] KAZAKSTANI LOWER HOUSE PASSES LANGUAGE LAW.
  • [05] TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER TO MEET IN DECEMBER.
  • [06] UZBEK PARLIAMENT OPENS WITH HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] BELGRADE PROTESTS GAIN MOMENTUM.
  • [08] OTHER NEWS FROM SERBIA.
  • [09] BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES TRIAL WINDS TO A CLOSE.
  • [10] ISLAMIC COUNTRIES DISCUSS AID TO BOSNIA.
  • [11] PROBLEMS FACE TRANS-BORDER BOSNIAN TV.
  • [12] ROMANIAN PREMIER-DESIGNATE SEES ECONOMIC REFORM AS PRIORITY.
  • [13] UKRAINE OPPOSES RUSSIAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN MOLDOVA.
  • [14] BULGARIAN PREMIER SAYS CURRENCY BOARD TO BE INTRODUCED IN EARLY 1997.
  • [15] BULGARIA TO REOPEN UMBRELLA MURDER CASE?
  • [16] ALBANIAN TRADE UNION LEADERS FILE CHARGES AGAINST EACH OTHER.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] NAGORNO-KARABAKH TALKS DEADLOCKED.

    Yet another round of negotiations to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which began on 18 November in Finland, have failed to make any progress, RFE/RL reported on 25 November. The parties could not agree on a declaration of principles for ending the conflict that was intended to be signed at the OSCE's upcoming summit in Lisbon. Observers note that, as a result, the summit will probably adopt a nonbinding statement urging all sides to reach a peaceful resolution. Diplomats who attended the talks said there was a "slight movement" in Azerbaijan's position, whereas the positions of Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh representatives remained unchanged. Armenia's chief presidential aide Gerard Libaridian said his country will veto any document at the Lisbon summit that runs counter to its interests, according to RFE/RL. In other news, commenting on the 24 November presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh, chairman of Azerbaijan's Supreme Court Hanlar Hajiev said it was the "result of the thoughtless policy of Russia," Turan reported on 25 November. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] MORE CRITICISM OF ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, in his regular Monday radio broadcast on 25 November, condemned as "a serious mistake" and "a political farce" the parliamentary elections in Abkhazia on 23 November, Reuters reported. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement released on 25 November and quoted by Radio Rossii similarly asserted that the elections constituted "a violation of universally accepted norms of human rights and basic civic liberties" and willfully ignored international public opinion. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION PARTY'S OFFICE REOPENED.

    The office of the National Democratic Union (AZhM) was reopened on 25 November. It was sealed on 25 September by police following violent protests by opposition supporters against the official results of the presidential election. An AZhM representative told Noyan Tapan that the office suffered serious material damage and that the party's property has not yet been returned by the Interior Ministry. -- Emil Danielyan

    [04] KAZAKSTANI LOWER HOUSE PASSES LANGUAGE LAW.

    The lower house of the Kazakstani parliament approved a language law on 22 November, according to ITAR-TASS. After "three days of heated debates" it was decided that ethnic Kazaks would be required to know the state language (Kazak) by January 2001 while the Russian-speaking population must know Kazak by January 2006. Television and radio must broadcast at least half their programming in the state language. Also mentioned was that the state language is used along with Russian in "all types of military formations." On 20 November Aman Tuleyev, the Russian Minister for Cooperation with CIS States, warned that passing such a law could lead to a mass exodus of Russia-speakers from Kazakstan. -- Bruce Pannier

    [05] TAJIK PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION LEADER TO MEET IN DECEMBER.

    Western sources reported on 25 November that Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov will meet United Tajik Opposition (UTO) leader Said Abdullo Nuri on 9 December in northern Afghanistan. The exact location of the meeting has not been disclosed. The meeting will lay the groundwork for a 23 December "official" meeting in Moscow. Expectations are that an agreement on power sharing will be signed at the Moscow meeting. Opposition forces have moved steadily westward since early 1996 and are now about 80 kilometers east of the capital Dushanbe. -- Bruce Pannier

    [06] UZBEK PARLIAMENT OPENS WITH HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA.

    The 7th session of the Oliy Majlis opened on 26 November with a list of "democratization" proposals on the agenda, Uzbek TV reported. The steering committee of the legislature, under the leadership of speaker Erkin Khalilov, met on 22 November to set the agenda, which includes the creation of a government institution designed to ensure that legislation abides by international standards of "democracy and human rights." In addition, the Oliy Majlis is expected to pass legislation on political parties, the protection of independent journalists, and greater access to state information. While other legislation will be considered, it is evident that this session will be marked as one in which human rights became a high priority for the government, Uzbek officials note. -- Roger Kangas

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] BELGRADE PROTESTS GAIN MOMENTUM.

    Up to 200,000 people marched in downtown Belgrade on 25 November to protest the authorities' decision to nullify opposition wins in the 17 November local elections, Radio B92 reported. It was the sixth consecutive day of mass demonstrations in the capital, which are reported to have been larger than the 1991 anti-government demonstrations. Landmarks such as the Serbian legislature, the Politika publishing house, and TV Serbia were pelted by thousands of eggs. March organizers urged participants to remain calm and to "peacefully" target only designated landmarks. Mass demonstrations are planned to continue daily both in and outside Belgrade. -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

    [08] OTHER NEWS FROM SERBIA.

    The opposition coalition Zajedno has appealed to the Serbian Supreme Court to overturn the authorities' decision to nullify its local election wins, Nasa Borba reported on 26 November. Meanwhile, Ilija Djukic, chair of the Democratic Party's foreign affairs committee, said he received a favorable hearing from Western officials whom he had briefed on the current situation in Serbia. He added that he would not like to be in Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic's place when Milutinovic explains to leaders from other countries currently meeting in Brussels about ongoing developments in Serbia. -- Stan Markotich in Belgrade

    [09] BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES TRIAL WINDS TO A CLOSE.

    U.S. Deputy Prosecutor Brenda Hollis said in The Hague on 25 November that accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Dusan Tadic is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. She argued that witnesses' testimony clearly identified him as being present with "a special status" at the Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje concentration camps in 1992, AFP reported. Tadic's lawyers maintain that many of the witnesses are unreliable and that, at best, charges against their client are based on mistaken identity. Meanwhile in Croatia, the authorities have placed 39 ethnic Serbs on trial for war crimes allegedly committed during the conflict in 1991 and 1992, Hina noted. Twelve are present in the court in Split, while the rest are being tried in absentia. And in Zagreb, a top-level international commission on missing persons in the wars of the Yugoslav succession met with President Franjo Tudjman. The group is headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] ISLAMIC COUNTRIES DISCUSS AID TO BOSNIA.

    The group for aid mobilization to Bosnia-Herzegovina of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) convened for a two-day meeting in Sarajevo on 22 November , Oslobodjenje reported. Representatives of 12 countries and the Islamic Bank discussed economic, social, humanitarian, and military issues. Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic said the Islamic world has provided 15% of the total amount of reconstruction aid to date. Muratovic criticized High Representative Carl Bildt for trying to postpone some reconstruction projects until the three-man presidency agrees to appoint the Council of Ministers. Muratovic also complained that Bildt was attempting to postpone a forthcoming donors' conference in Brussels. "If Bildt does not change his attitude very soon..., we'll be forced to ask for diplomatic help from our friends," he added. -- Daria Sito Sucic in Sarajevo

    [11] PROBLEMS FACE TRANS-BORDER BOSNIAN TV.

    Representatives of four local Bosnian TV stations participating in the internationally sponsored project TV International/Open Broadcast Network (TVIN/OBN) have announced they will complain to sponsors about their status in the project, Oslobodjenje reported on 24 November. TVIN/OBN was designed as an independent television network aimed to overcome internal borders in Bosnia. But local TV stations participating in the $10 million project complain they have been excluded from the financial planning and the decision-making on programs. Local stations were granted equipment worth $1 million to improve their programs and broadcasting facilities. -- Daria Sito Sucic in Sarajevo

    [12] ROMANIAN PREMIER-DESIGNATE SEES ECONOMIC REFORM AS PRIORITY.

    Victor Ciorbea has said he plans to focus on economic reforms in order to woo international financial institutes back into the country, Radio Bucharest and AFP reported on 25 November. He said he will meet with an IMF delegation on 30 November and try to mend fences with that organization. The IMF suspended part of a $250 million loan to Romania earlier this year, accusing the outgoing government of failing to meet a pledge to reduce the budget deficit and restructure state institutions. Ciorbea said this year's budget deficit will reach 4.5% of GDP, more than double the 2% pledge made to the IMF. He added that his government will speed up privatization by eliminating bureaucratic and legal obstacles. Meanwhile, Cronica romana reports on 26 November that the decision to change the title of premier to chairman of the Council of Ministers has been revoked because it would have required a constitutional amendment. -- Michael Shafir

    [13] UKRAINE OPPOSES RUSSIAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN MOLDOVA.

    Radio Bucharest reported on 25 November that Ukraine has expressed opposition to a recent Russian State Duma resolution calling for a permanent status for the Russian contingent in Moldova. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Ukraine is opposed because it respects Moldova's territorial integrity, which extends to the breakaway Dniester region. -- Michael Shafir

    [14] BULGARIAN PREMIER SAYS CURRENCY BOARD TO BE INTRODUCED IN EARLY 1997.

    Zhan Videnov on 25 November said that a currency board would be introduced in the first weeks of 1997, Bulgarian media reported. He added that the parliament would have the final word on the matter. According to Videnov, there are three outstanding issues: whether the 1997 budget will be balanced, whether the banking system will maintain strict discipline, and what level of funding will be provided by international financial institutions to support the currency board's fixed exchange rate. Other issues currently being debated are whether to tie the lev to the dollar or the German mark and whether to set the current exchange rate or a further devalued one. Videnov also said that no foreigners or representatives of Bulgarian political parties or banks would sit on the board. -- Michael Wyzan

    [15] BULGARIA TO REOPEN UMBRELLA MURDER CASE?

    President-elect Petar Stoyanov told The Times on 25 November that the murder case of Georgi Markov will be reopened, AFP reported. Stoyanov said that clearing up Markov's murder will be one of his priorities after assuming office in January 1997. He noted that "for Bulgarian society, this question has acquired symbolic importance." Markov was a prominent writer who fled Bulgaria after falling out with the communist authorities. In 1969, he settled in London, where he worked for the Bulgarian section of the BBC World Service. Later, he joined RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service in Munich. He was murdered in September 1978 in the British capital, most likely stabbed by a specially prepared poisonous umbrella. A tiny pellet containing the highly poisonous ricin was found in his leg after his death. -- Stefan Krause

    [16] ALBANIAN TRADE UNION LEADERS FILE CHARGES AGAINST EACH OTHER.

    Azem Hajdari and Valer Xheka, presidents of their respective factions of the Unions of Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH), have filed charges against each other, ATSH reported on 25 November. Hajdari wants the court to recognize him as the legitimate leader of the BSPSH and to order the assets of the BSPSH frozen until a court ruling. Xheka says the Durres congress at which Hajdari was elected as president of the breakaway BSPSH violated the trade union's statutes. He wants Hajdari to be banned from using its name. He also charged Fatmir Musaku, an ally of Hajdari, with embezzling $4,168 during a visit to China in May. Meanwhile, Hajdari was re-elected president of his faction at a congress on 23 November, Dita Informacion reported. -- 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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