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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 14, 97-04-18

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. 14, 18 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] GEORGIAN WARLORD SAYS SHEVARDNADZE WITNESSED 1993 EXECUTIONS.
  • [02] ABKHAZ PRESIDENT RULES OUT FURTHER TALKS WITH GEORGIA.
  • [03] WORLD BANK LENDS KYRGYZSTAN $44 MILLION.
  • [04] TAJIK TALKS OFF AGAIN.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] CONFUSION OVER ALBANIAN ELECTION DATE.
  • [06] CROATIAN PARTIES WIN IN MOST SLAVONIAN DISTRICTS.
  • [07] BILDT CALLS FOR ISOLATION OF BOSNIAN SERB LEADER.
  • [08] STEINER SLAMS BOSNIAN SERB TRIAL OF "ZVORNIK SEVEN."
  • [09] OSCE LACKS MONEY FOR BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.
  • [10] ALL SLOVENIAN PARTIES BACK NATO MEMBERSHIP.
  • [11] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET LAW.
  • [12] ROMANIA WANTS TO PURCHASE USED U.S. FIGHTER PLANES.
  • [13] RUSSIAN DUMA COMMISSION WRAPS UP MOLDOVAN VISIT.
  • [14] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WARNS CLINTON ABOUT EXCLUSION FROM NATO.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] GEORGIAN WARLORD SAYS SHEVARDNADZE WITNESSED 1993 EXECUTIONS.

    Dzhaba Ioseliani, former head of the disbanded Mkhedrioni paramilitary force, says he was arrested in November 1995 because he had informed the Georgian parliament that he was present when Interior Minister Shota Kviraya executed five men in Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze's presence. Ioseliani said the executions were carried out in western Georgia in October 1993. The date and place suggests that the executed men were supporters of late President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who launched an unsuccessful insurrection in fall 1993. Ioseliani has been charged with treason in connection with the failed car bomb attack on Shevardnadze in August 1995. He protests that his arrest was illegal because, as a deputy, he had parliamentary immunity. He added that there is no hard evidence to substantiate the charges against him. Ioseliani made the claims in a letter to Supreme Court chairman Mindia Ugrekhelidze, published in the Georgian press on 16 April.

    [02] ABKHAZ PRESIDENT RULES OUT FURTHER TALKS WITH GEORGIA.

    Vladislav Ardzinba says the re-routing of all telephone communications from Russia to Abkhazia via Georgia was "a political act" that showed Russia is trying to force Abkhazia to agree to enter a federation with Georgia, AFP reported yesterday, quoting Interfax. Ardzinba ruled out further talks with Georgia on a political solution to the conflict, while Georgian presidential adviser Shalva Pichkhadze told Interfax that Georgia has exhausted almost "all areas of compromise" with Abkhazia. He hinted that Georgia could be forced to seek alternative mediators if the resolution adopted at the March CIS summit on broadening the mandate of the CIS peacekeepers in Abkhazia is not implemented.

    [03] WORLD BANK LENDS KYRGYZSTAN $44 MILLION.

    The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) has approved a $44 million loan for Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL reported yesterday. The funds will be used to help reduce the budget deficit and will cover the cost of privatizing or closing down non-productive state enterprises. The loan is also intended to help maintain essential public services slated for privatization. It is repayable over 30 years with a10-year grace period.

    [04] TAJIK TALKS OFF AGAIN.

    Talks between the Tajik government and the United Tajik Opposition have been called off again, RFE/RL's Tajik service reported yesterday. Discussions resumed on 16 April after breaking down the previous week but have now been postponed until 16 May. Both sides said they needed to consult with their leaderships before continuing the discussions.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] CONFUSION OVER ALBANIAN ELECTION DATE.

    Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief envoy to Albania, said in Tirana yesterday that party leaders have agreed on 29 June as the date for early parliamentary elections but have not yet reached consensus on conditions for the poll. But later, Prime Minister Bashkim Fino told the ATA news agency that "the elections will be held by the end of June but a fixed date has not been agreed to." Tritan Shehu, a leader of President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party, told AFP that no date was even been discussed. Other issues to be resolved before the elections include dealing with the rebels in the south, drafting a new election law, granting all parties freer access to TV and radio, and clarifying why the pyramid investment schemes collapsed.

    [06] CROATIAN PARTIES WIN IN MOST SLAVONIAN DISTRICTS.

    Croatian government spokesmen in Zagreb and ethnic Serb leaders in Vukovar said yesterday that early, unofficial returns show Croatian parties winning 16 out of eastern Slavonia's 27 districts. Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Kostovic told journalists that the governing Croatian Democratic Community has an absolute majority in most of those 16 areas. The remaining 11 were won by the Serbian Independent Democratic Party (SSDS). The SSDS, a broad Serbian coalition, claims victory in Beli Manastir and some other municipalities, while both the Croats and Serbs agree that the vote in Vukovar was evenly split. The UN administration in the area will begin to release official figures later today.

    [07] BILDT CALLS FOR ISOLATION OF BOSNIAN SERB LEADER.

    Carl Bildt, the international community's High Representative in Bosnia- Herzegovina, wrote UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan yesterday that there should be only "essential business contacts" with the Serbian member of the joint Bosnian presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik. Bildt says that Krajisnik is still close to former Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Bildt called Karadzic's role "evil," an RFE/RL correspondent in Sarajevo reported. Meanwhile, Bildt's spokesman told reporters that there will be no international aid for Bosanski Samac and Foca in the Republika Srpska and for Croat-controlled Vitez because indicted war criminals openly take part in local government there.

    [08] STEINER SLAMS BOSNIAN SERB TRIAL OF "ZVORNIK SEVEN."

    Bildt's deputy, Michael Steiner, has blasted the Bosnian Serb authorities for not allowing seven Muslim males to have their own lawyers in a trial that was slated to open this week in Zvornik. He said in Sarajevo yesterday that the trial is "a travesty of justice" and could lead to sanctions against the Serbs. Mystery has surrounded the case of the seven, who surrendered to U.S. peacekeepers near Zvornik last May. The Muslims claimed to be survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, but the Serbs charged them with murder and unauthorized possession of weapons. The peacekeepers handed the Muslims over to the Serbian police, which the Muslims say tortured them.

    [09] OSCE LACKS MONEY FOR BOSNIAN ELECTIONS.

    Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Peterson said in Vienna yesterday that the OSCE is $32 million short of what it needs to organize the Bosnian local elections in September. He accused various unspecified countries of engaging the OSCE in various political projects but failing to provide the money to carry them out. Peterson said the time has come to abandon the system of financing the OSCE on the basis of voluntary contributions and to start assessing members dues instead.

    [10] ALL SLOVENIAN PARTIES BACK NATO MEMBERSHIP.

    All parties signed a declaration in Ljubljana yesterday supporting membership in the Atlantic alliance. The parties say that Slovenia is ready to cover all expenses connected with joining. The opposition Social Democrats launched the initiative. Slovenia has been intensively lobbying NATO member states in recent weeks in a bid to be admitted in the first wave of new members. It is the only former Yugoslav republic that most observers give a serious chance of admission in the foreseeable future, although Croatian President Franjo Tudjman says that his country is ready to join.

    [11] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES BUDGET LAW.

    A joint session of Romania's bi-cameral parliament has passed the law on the 1997 state budget, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported yesterday. The leftist and nationalist opposition voted against the law. Finance Minister Mircea Ciumara told RFE/RL's Romanian service that the budget will require "a few months of sacrifice" from the population but will enable Romania to shake off its current economic impasse. The budget foresees a deficit amounting to 4.5% of GDP, an inflation rate of 90%, and an 8% unemployment rate. The same day, the government amended and approved the list of 10 state-owned loss-making companies slated for privatization or liquidation. Together, those companies account for 7.5% of the deficit in the state sector.

    [12] ROMANIA WANTS TO PURCHASE USED U.S. FIGHTER PLANES.

    A Defense Ministry spokesman says Romania plans to buy used fighter and transport planes from the U.S. military to bring the country closer to NATO standards. He told Reuters yesterday that Defense Minister Victor Babiuc has sent a letter of intent to the U.S. Defense Department for the purchase of 12 F-16 or F-18 fighter jets and nine Hercules C-130 transport aircraft. The spokesman also said Bell Helicopter Textron of the States was "at an advanced stage" in its bid to buy a controlling stake in the Intreprinderea Aeronautica Romana company to jointly produce Cobra attack helicopters. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Adrian Severin and his Italian counterpart, Lamberto Dini, met in Rome yesterday and signed a joint declaration on a "strategic partnership" between their countries. An RFE/RL corespondent in the Italian capital reported that the document provides for Italian support for Romania's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

    [13] RUSSIAN DUMA COMMISSION WRAPS UP MOLDOVAN VISIT.

    Adrian Puzanovsky, head of a State Duma commission for the Transdniester, says the Duma has not ratified the 1990 basic treaty with Moldova because the breakaway region's problems have not yet been solved, BASA-press reported yesterday. Speaking at the end of the commission's four-day visit to Moldova, Puzanovsky said the Duma's stance is "dictated by its responsibility" toward settling the conflict. He added that the commission was "highly appreciative" of the accords to resume negotiations signed by Chisinau and Tiraspol as a result of Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov's mediation. The commission was received yesterday by President Petru Lucinschi and other Moldovan officials.

    [14] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT WARNS CLINTON ABOUT EXCLUSION FROM NATO.

    Petar Stoyanov has sent a letter addressed to U.S. President Bill Clinton warning that leaving Bulgaria out of NATO risks creating a "gray area" in the Balkans, Reuters reported yesterday, citing a press release from the presidential office. Bulgaria itself could turn from an "island of stability" into an "island of uncertain security," he said. Stoyanov told Reuters he expects tomorrow's parliamentary elections to seal a new national consensus in favor of the market reforms delayed since the end of communist rule. He said Bulgaria was a latecomer to those reforms but could learn from the mistakes of its more advanced ex-communist neighbors. Meanwhile, the election campaign ended yesterday.

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


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