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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1 No. 5, 97-04-07

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 1, No. 5, 7 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO TURKEY.
  • [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT DENIES MEETING WITH ARFD LEADERS.
  • [03] RUSSIA, CENTRAL ASIAN STATES VOW JOINT ACTION IN CASE OF TALIBAN ADVANCE.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] ALBANIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES PROBE OF ARMED INCIDENT.
  • [05] ANNAN CALLS FOR QUICK DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS TO ALBANIA.
  • [06] LOOTERS TOOK CHEMICAL, RADIOACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN ALBANIA.
  • [07] ANOTHER MONASTERY SHELLED IN BOSNIA.
  • [08] U.S. BACKS DEMOCRATIZATION IN SERBIA.
  • [09] SLAVONIAN UPDATE.
  • [10] GARMENT WORKERS STRIKE IN ZAGREB.
  • [11] SLOVENIA PRESSES FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP.
  • [12] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DENIES GOVERNMENT WANTS TO POLITICIZE BANKS.
  • [13] TRANSYLVANIAN UNIVERSITY TO BE RESTRUCTURED.
  • [14] MOLDOVA, ROMANIA TO RESUME PARLEYS ON BASIC TREATY.
  • [15] BULGARIAN ELECTION POLL.
  • [16] BULGARIA TO BUY RUSSIAN PLANES?

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO TURKEY.

    Heidar Aliev has postponed a three-day state visit to Turkey, scheduled to begin today, in order not to be in Ankara tomorrow when the funeral of Alparslan Turkes takes place, AFP reported. Turkes, who died on 5 April, was the leader of the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, also known as the Grey Wolves. Iskender Hamidov, leader of the Azerbaijani Grey Wolves, was arrested in March 1995 on suspicion of involvement in an alleged coup attempt against Aliev. The Azerbaijani president later claimed that Turkish security service officers were also implicated in the incident.

    [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT DENIES MEETING WITH ARFD LEADERS.

    A spokesman for Levon Ter-Petrossyan has clarified a 4 April report by the official news agency Armenpress suggesting that the president met with members of the suspended Dashnak party (see RFE/RL Newsline, 4 April 1997). The spokesman told journalists that Ter- Petrossyan initiated talks between the ARFD and members of the Armenian leadership, including parliamentary speaker Babken Ararktsyan. But he stressed that the president did not participate in the discussions, RFE/RL reported. Also on 4 April, some 10,000 people attended an opposition demonstration in Yerevan to demand new presidential elections, Russian agencies reported.

    [03] RUSSIA, CENTRAL ASIAN STATES VOW JOINT ACTION IN CASE OF TALIBAN [ADVANCE.

    A Taliban spokesman has categorically denied that the movement intends to advance into CIS territory, AFP reported. Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia vowed to take 'close joint action' if the Taliban movement were to do so. The foreign ministers of the four Central Asian countries met with First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov in Dushanbe on 5 April. Talks focused on Afghanistan and the success there of the Taliban movement, which is approaching the southern borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Earlier, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov met with the ministers and called for an international forum on the problems in Afghanistan for all parties involved. Meanwhile, armed forces in Kyrgyzstan and Russian border guards held joint exercises near the Kyrgyz- Tajik border on 4-5 April. Kyrgyz acting Security Minister Pavel Verchagin said the maneuvers were in response to possible tension in the southern region.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] ALBANIAN PREMIER LAUNCHES PROBE OF ARMED INCIDENT.

    On 5 April, some 50 armed men set off two grenades and fired shots into the air to block the road between Tirana and Shkoder, forcing Bashkim Fino to turn back. Fino had been on his way to talk to local officials in the northern region, which has not sided with the armed rebellion in the south. Fino set up an investigation the next day, RFE/RL reported. Shkoder police promised action against those responsible for the "ugly act."

    [05] ANNAN CALLS FOR QUICK DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS TO ALBANIA.

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the eight-nation intervention force should go to Albania as soon as possible, adding that speed "is of the essence." The first of up to 6,000 troops are slated to start arriving on 14 April. In the Vatican yesterday, Pope John Paul II urged politicians to have the "necessary courage to intervene" to end the chaos.

    [06] LOOTERS TOOK CHEMICAL, RADIOACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN ALBANIA.

    An army officer appealed to looters on television yesterday to hand back the lethal chemical and radioactive materials they took from four military bases in recent weeks. The small radioactive objects contain strontium or cobalt and come from radar installations. In other news, six young people were hurt in Vlora after playing with grenades and other weapons.

    [07] ANOTHER MONASTERY SHELLED IN BOSNIA.

    Three rifle grenades struck a Roman Catholic monastery at Kraljeva Sutjeska, central Bosnia, on 5 April. It was the latest in a series of attacks on Catholic and Muslim religious buildings and reflects the tensions between the two nominal allies. The two sides, nonetheless, resumed joint police patrols in Mostar the previous day after a break of almost two months. Also on 4 April, a spokesman for the international community said that the Bosnian Serbs will not be allowed to demand transit visas from people traveling to see the pope in the Bosnian capital next weekend, RFE/RL reported.

    [08] U.S. BACKS DEMOCRATIZATION IN SERBIA.

    The three leaders of the Zajedno coalition met with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on 4 April. Her spokesman said that Washington especially wants to promote media freedom and roundtable talks in the runup to the next elections, RFE/RL reported. He also accused the Serbian authorities of brutality and intransigence in Kosovo.

    [09] SLAVONIAN UPDATE.

    The Serbs in eastern Slavonia held a referendum yesterday to demand that they constitute a single administrative unit with a Serbian majority when the area re- joins Croatia in July. Croatia plans to re-establish two counties in which the prewar majorities were Croatian. Both Zagreb and the local UN authorities have said the referendum is invalid. The UN says, however, that voters now have until Tuesday to register for Croatian local and regional elections on 13 April, RFE/RL reported. In other news, the government on 4 April announced a project to build 2,000 flats quickly for Croatian refugees going home to Vukovar.

    [10] GARMENT WORKERS STRIKE IN ZAGREB.

    More than 2,000 garment workers protested on 4 April against worsening working and living conditions. Talks between the government and unions start today, and the government says it hopes to reach a deal by the end of the month, RFE/RL reported. The government calls Croatia a prosperous country, but most ordinary people have difficulty making ends meet.

    [11] SLOVENIA PRESSES FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP.

    President Milan Kucan met recently with outgoing NATO commander Gen. George Joulwan and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel. Slovenia wants to be in the first group of East European countries to join the Atlantic alliance in order to further distance itself from the other former Yugoslav republics. The Slovenian defense minister hosted his Italian and Hungarian counterparts on Friday to discuss future joint exercises. But a recent poll shows that only 42% of the Slovenian population backs NATO membership, while 73% do not want Slovenian troops going to crisis areas under any circumstances, RFE/RL said.

    [12] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DENIES GOVERNMENT WANTS TO POLITICIZE BANKS.

    Emil Constantinescu has denied that the ruling coalition intends to politicize the banking system and other state-owned companies, RFE/RL reported. Constantinescu was responding yesterday to opposition protests following announcements by leading coalition members that the government intends to replace the managers of state-owned banks in order to 'speed up the reform process.' Constantinescu said the government will discuss a draft law on the privatization of banks this week. He also said there were attempts to mislead the public over the IMF's position on Romania. An IMF delegation led by Poul Thomsen, the organization's chief negotiator for Romania, arrives in Bucharest today for what is reported to be an unexpected visit reflecting IMF dissatisfaction with the Romanian economy.

    [13] TRANSYLVANIAN UNIVERSITY TO BE RESTRUCTURED.

    The Romanian-Hungarian-German committee of the Babes- Bolyay University in Cluj has recommended setting up departments offering instruction in each of the three languages, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The decision is to be implemented after necessary amendments to the education law have been made. Bishop Laszlo Tokes, honorary chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), has criticized both UDMR chairman Bela Marko and Premier Victor Ciorbea for breaking their promise to set up a separate Hungarian university. Marko said the problem has to be solved within the larger context of amending the education law and the law on local administration.

    [14] MOLDOVA, ROMANIA TO RESUME PARLEYS ON BASIC TREATY.

    Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popov and his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Severin, have agreed to resume talks on the bilateral basic treaty, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Popov and Severin met in the Romanian capital on 5 April. Talks on the treaty ground to a halt in fall 1996. The Moldovan daily Flux reports that Moldova wants to speed up the conclusion of the treaty before the NATO summit in Madrid in July, BASA-press reported on 5 April. Flux also says that Chisinau is trying to exploit the upcoming summit. It maintains that Moldovan leaders want to persuade Bucharest to recognize existing borders because one of the conditions for NATO admission, which Romania is eagerly pursuing, is the resolution of all border disputes.

    [15] BULGARIAN ELECTION POLL.

    A recent Gallup opinion poll shows the United Democratic Forces (ODS) and its allies leading the Socialists by more than 30 percentage points, RFE/RL reported. The poll, published on 4 April, gives the ODS 62% support and the Socialists 16-17%. The Union for National Salvation--composed of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, former President Zheylu Zhelev's Liberal Alternative, and an agrarian party--and the Euro- Leftists each received 4.5% backing. General elections are scheduled for 19 April.

    [16] BULGARIA TO BUY RUSSIAN PLANES?

    Bulgaria is ready to buy 14 Russian MiG 29s, provided that it receives a $450 million credit from Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. Nezavisimaya gazeta on 4 April quoted Boris Kuzyk, Russian presidential adviser on arms sales abroad, as saying Bulgaria already has some 20 MiG 29s of an earlier type and needs to upgrade the Plodviv factory to maintain the aircraft. He said the factory would also be able to repair MiG fighters belonging to Asian and African nations, which 'would allow Bulgaria to earn millions of dollars every year.'

    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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