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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 19, 97-04-25

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. 19, 25 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] OSCE SUSPENDS MONITORING OF KARABAKH CEASE-FIRE
  • [02] MKHEDRIONI MEMBER CONFESSES TO INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS
  • [03] ARMENIA REMEMBERS 1915 GENOCIDE VICTIMS
  • [04] HUMAN RIGHTS IN UZBEKISTAN
  • [05] INFORMATION SOUGHT ON MISSING KAZAK JOURNALIST

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] ALBANIA'S WOULD-BE KING LEKA GETS COOL WELCOME IN VLORA
  • [07] ALBANIAN ROUNDUP
  • [08] BOSNIAN SERB, CROATIAN LEADERS MEET
  • [09] BOSNIAN SERBS SENTENCE "ZVORNIK SEVEN"
  • [10] INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL AIR TRAFFIC RETURNS TO BOSNIA
  • [11] CROATIAN UPDATE
  • [12] SERBIA'S RULING PARTY STRENGTHENS HARD-LINERS
  • [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS SOFIA MUST SIGN MINORITY RIGHTS CONVENTION
  • [14] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE CHIEF RESIGNS
  • [15] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WRAPS UP U.S. VISIT
  • [16] COUNCIL OF EUROPE ENDS SPECIAL MONITORING OF ROMANIA
  • [17] MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION RESPONDS TO STATEMENT BACKING RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNION

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] OSCE SUSPENDS MONITORING OF KARABAKH CEASE-FIRE

    Danish Foreign Minister and OSCE chairman Niels Helveg Petersen said yesterday that the organization has suspended its regular monitoring of the front-line between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, in southern Azerbaijan, RFE/RL reported. The decision was prompted by an incident on 15 April when the car transporting an OSCE monitor was fired on near the Azerbaijani town of Horadiz. Also yesterday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov expressed concern at cease-fire violations over the past three weeks, according to Interfax. The Armenian and Azerbaijani Defense Ministries each accused the opposing side of opening fire on enemy positions.

    [02] MKHEDRIONI MEMBER CONFESSES TO INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS

    Gocha Tediashvili, a member of the banned paramilitary organization Mkhedrioni, told the Georgian Supreme Court on 23 April that he was involved in the murders of three prominent Georgian political figures, Interfax reported yesterday. Tediashvili confessed to having taken part in the 1994 killings of Deputy Interior Minister Giorgi Gulua, Shevardnadze Fund President Soliko Khabeishvili, and Georgian National Democratic Party leader Gia Chanturia.

    [03] ARMENIA REMEMBERS 1915 GENOCIDE VICTIMS

    Tens of thousands of Armenians gathered yesterday at the Yerevan monument to the Armenians massacred in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, Russian and Western agencies reported. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, Catholicos Garegin I, former Russian Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed, and a visiting Syrian official were among those who paid tribute.

    [04] HUMAN RIGHTS IN UZBEKISTAN

    President Islam Karimov told the parliament yesterday to have "more courage" in reporting human rights violations, Interfax reported. Karimov said there are numerous cases of officials violating those rights and requested information on the identity of such officials. Meanwhile on 23 April, an Uzbek court summoned Abid Khan Nazarov to arraign him on charges of slander and inciting ethnic, racial, and religious hatred, Reuters and RFE/RL's Uzbek service reported. Nazarov was dismissed as mullah at Tashkent's Tokhtoboy mosque and medressa in 1995 and then evicted from his flat. He filed suit against the government when he did not receive a promised new apartment. Earlier this month, 300 people gathered to demonstrate solidarity with Nazarov outside a court at which the mullah's case against the government was being heard

    [05] INFORMATION SOUGHT ON MISSING KAZAK JOURNALIST

    Human rights activists and journalists from Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan are requesting more information on the disappearance of Sergei Skorokhodov, who writes for the Kazak newspaper Ekonomika Sevodnya, ITAR-TASS reported yesterday. On 21 April, libel proceedings were launched against Skorokhodov in connection with an interview he had conducted with an opposition figure. The next day, Skorokhodov left Almaty by car to attend a "Journalists and Rights" conference in Bishkek but disappeared somewhere between the Kazak and Kyrgyz capitals. He remains missing.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] ALBANIA'S WOULD-BE KING LEKA GETS COOL WELCOME IN VLORA

    Leka Zogu spent only 20 minutes in the turbulent southern port of Vlora yesterday, leaving after chants from the crowd of up to 5,000 people switched from "Long live the king" to "Down with Berisha" and "We want our money back." Bystanders told reporters that Leka should run for parliament if he wants to have a role in Albanian public life. Before his departure, Leka laid a wreath in honor of independence leader Ismail Qemali. Also in Vlora, an additional 150 Italian soldiers arrived as part of the multinational force to ensure the delivery of aid shipments.

    [07] ALBANIAN ROUNDUP

    Slovenian Defense Minister Tit Turnsek announced in Ljubljana yesterday that his country will soon send a specialized medical unit of 20 soldiers to Albania. Slovenia has told NATO that the Alpine republic can make a valuable contribution to the alliance because it is able to offer trained specialists for specific projects. Meanwhile, the official news agency ATA reports that primary and secondary schools in the capital will reopen on 29 April with armed guards on duty. Schools across the country have been shut since 2 March, but it is unclear when those outside Tirana will reopen.

    [08] BOSNIAN SERB, CROATIAN LEADERS MEET

    Representatives of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) met in Pale yesterday to discuss refugee return and the administration of localities divided by the inter-entity border, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sarajevo. The SDS and HDZ expressed dissatisfaction with the composition of the joint Bosnian diplomatic service, saying that the Muslims hold an unfair number of key jobs. Next week, HDZ and SDS representatives will meet in Banja Luka to discuss the possible revision of borders between Croat- and Serb-held areas, which the Dayton treaty allows by mutual agreement.

    [09] BOSNIAN SERBS SENTENCE "ZVORNIK SEVEN"

    A court in Zvornik yesterday sentenced three Muslims to 21 years in prison for the murder of four Serbs and for carrying illegal weapons. The other four accused Muslims got one year each on the weapons charge. Since they have all spent 12 months in prison already, the three men will serve 20 years each and the other four will go free. The international community has widely slammed the trial as unfair. Meanwhile in Brcko, the international community's administrator Robert Farrand announced a plan for refugees to come back to that strategic Serb-held town. It is unclear, however, who will enforce the procedure or what will happen if one side balks. Refugees enjoy the right to go home under the Dayton agreement, but that provision has remained a dead letter.

    [10] INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL AIR TRAFFIC RETURNS TO BOSNIA

    SFOR announced in Sarajevo yesterday that international commercial air traffic over Bosnia-Herzegovina has restarted after a five-year hiatus. A NATO spokesman said that air corridors at altitudes higher than 10,000 meters have been reopened for civilian aircraft. He said SFOR will continue to control the overall airspace above Bosnia-Herzegovina, while air traffic control in Zagreb and Belgrade will guide the aircraft onto established routes. SFOR gave no date for normalizing civilian air traffic within Bosnia and for reopening the airports in Mostar, Tuzla, and Banja Luka for civilian use.

    [11] CROATIAN UPDATE

    Election officials in Zagreb said yesterday that final returns show the HDZ won 42 out of 63 elected seats in the upper house of the parliament. The Croatian Social and Liberal Party follows with 11 seats, while the remaining 10 are claimed by other opposition parties. Also in Zagreb, Development Minister Jure Radic unveiled a plan to enable 40,000 refugees to go back to their original homes across Croatia, regardless of the refugees' nationality. The authorities will provide temporary housing for those whose old homes were destroyed or occupied during the war. Non- citizens will not be allowed to keep the homes they have taken, however. Meanwhile in Zadar, a court has sentenced in absentia Yugoslav Gen. Momcilo Perisic to 20 years in prison for his role in deliberately shelling civilian targets there in 1991.

    [12] SERBIA'S RULING PARTY STRENGTHENS HARD-LINERS

    The steering committee of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) met in Belgrade yesterday to reorganize the SPS leadership in time for the Serbian elections due later this year. Prominent hard-liners returned to several key posts after having been out of the political limelight for some time, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba today reports the results of a poll showing that the Zajedno coalition is the country's most popular political formation. It would take 22% of the vote, compared with 15% for the SPS and 13% for the Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj. Some 31% of the respondents were undecided.

    [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SAYS SOFIA MUST SIGN MINORITY RIGHTS CONVENTION

    Petar Stoyanov says his country must sign the Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, BTA reported. Stoyanov told reporters on returning from Strasbourg on 23 April that the Council of Europe is now looking with "new eyes at Bulgaria's new face" and that the Bulgarians deserve this respect because of the reform steps taken in recent months. Some political forces in Sofia have expressed concern that the convention would enable Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish minority to declare autonomy. Stoyanov's 23 April statement is the strongest sign to date that Bulgaria will sign the convention.

    [14] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE CHIEF RESIGNS

    Virgil Magureanu submitted his resignation to President Emil Constantinescu yesterday, RFE/RL reported. The controversial chief of the Intelligence Service (SRI) had headed that body since it was established in March 1990. Next week, he is scheduled to present to the parliament a report on the SRI's activities last year. Recently, he has been the target of numerous attacks by Romanian journalists as well as by Romanian exiles. Former communist spy Ion Mihai Pacepa, who defected to the U.S. in the early 1980s, wrote in The Washington Times last week that Magureanu's presence at the head of the SRI hinders Romania's entry into NATO. In late 1995, Magureanu admitted to having been a captain in the Securitate, the communist secret police.

    [15] ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WRAPS UP U.S. VISIT

    Adrian Severin said at the end of his four-day visit to the U.S. that Romania is waiting for Washington to decide on "a clear strategy" for NATO expansion. In an interview with RFE/RL Romanian service's yesterday, Severin said his country will "not abandon" its efforts to be admitted if it is not nominated at the NATO's July summit in Madrid because "this is our historical chance." But he noted that the decision not to include Romania in the first wave would have a negative impact on joint security structures that Romania has established or is about to establish with its neighbors. Also yesterday, the parliament unanimously passed a resolution appealing to all NATO members to support Bucharest's bid.

    [16] COUNCIL OF EUROPE ENDS SPECIAL MONITORING OF ROMANIA

    The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly yesterday announced it will cease special monitoring of Romania's commitment to respect human rights. Romania undertook to honor those rights when it was admitted to the council in October 1993. The assembly said Romania has "honored the most important obligations" but noted special monitoring will resume if Bucharest fails to keep its pledges. It also said Romania must still amend its penal code and other legislation to confirm with the European Convention on Human Rights. The assembly urged Bucharest to take "resolute action" to combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, particularly toward the Roma population. Romania will now be subject to the regular monitoring that applies to all 40 countries.

    [17] MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION RESPONDS TO STATEMENT BACKING RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN UNION

    A group of deputies from the opposition Party of Revival and Accord in Moldova (PRAM) says the decision by 57 deputies from the ruling party and its allies to back Russian-Belarusian union is a "denial of independence and democracy," Infotag reported on 22 April. The 57 deputies issued a statement the previous day saying the union was proof of "current international integration tendencies" and set a positive example "for the further integration of the CIS." The PRAM deputies argue that the statement is "a cynical betrayal" of the signatories' "own nation" and demonstrates that the ruling party and its allies are striving to "turn the Republic of Moldova into a new colony."

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


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