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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 22, 97-04-30

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. 22, 30 April 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON TAJIK PRESIDENT
  • [02] GEORGIAN FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS
  • [03] NEW PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED IN ABKHAZIA
  • [04] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY ON RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE
  • [05] ARMENIAN EX-PREMIER TO FOUND NEW POLITICAL PARTY
  • [06] TURKMENISTAN PLANS NEW OIL CONSORTIUM

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [07] ALBANIAN UN AMBASSADOR PRAISES ITALIAN-LED MISSION
  • [08] LEKA ZOGU CALLS FOR GREATER ALBANIA
  • [09] ALBANIAN ROUNDUP
  • [10] THIRD TERM FOR SERBIA'S MILOSEVIC?
  • [11] EU RETURNS TRADE PERKS TO BELGRADE
  • [12] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SPLIT AGAIN?
  • [13] OSCE SETS UP BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING PROGRAM
  • [14] ROMANIAN PREMIER ATTACKS OUTGOING INTELLIGENCE SERVICE CHIEF
  • [15] ROMANIA, TURKEY SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
  • [16] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON
  • [17] MOLDOVAN PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE REOPENS CASE AGAINST NEWS AGENCY

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON TAJIK PRESIDENT

    A grenade was thrown today at Imomali Rakhmonov in the northern Tajik city of Khujand, RFE/RL's Tajik service reported. At the time, Rakhmonov was walking to a local theater to give a speech marking the 65th anniversary of the city's university. Rakhmonov was wounded in the leg, but his condition is described as not "life-threatening." Two people are reported dead and up to injured, Russian Public TV reported. Authorities have taken two people into custody in connection with the attack.

    [02] GEORGIAN FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS

    Davit Yakobidze, who came under severe criticism last fall for alleged incompetence, submitted his resignation to President Eduard Shevardnadze on 28 April, Interfax reported. Yakobidze has been targeted by the head of the parliamentary anti-corruption commission. Shevardnadze has appointed Mikhail Chkuaseli, prefect of Guria and an economist, to replace Yakobidze.

    [03] NEW PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED IN ABKHAZIA

    Sergei Bagapsh, a former first secretary of the Abkhaz Komsomol and most recently a permanent representative of the Abkhaz leadership in Moscow, has been appointed Abkhaz prime minister, Interfax and BS-Press reported yesterday. Bagapsh replaces Gennadii Gulua, who resigned for health reasons on 24 April. Bagapsh is a native of Ochamchire Raion, where support for Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba is plummetting.

    [04] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY ON RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE

    The Armenian parliament voted yesterday to ratify the March 1995 treaty permitting Russia to maintain a military base in Armenia for a 25-year period, Russian agencies reported. The vote was 118 to four with seven abstentions. The Russian State Duma ratified the treaty on 18 April.

    [05] ARMENIAN EX-PREMIER TO FOUND NEW POLITICAL PARTY

    Former Armenian Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan told the first issue of the Armenian newspaper Menk that he will head a new political party named Azatutyun [Freedom], RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported yesterday. The founding congress of the party is scheduled for 29 May. Bagratyan said the party "will have a modern liberal ideology" and will represent the interests of property owners and producers.

    [06] TURKMENISTAN PLANS NEW OIL CONSORTIUM

    President Saparmurat Niyazov and Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Recai Kutan met yesterday and announced that a new consortium will be formed to attract investments for the construction of pipelines, Interfax reported. The goal is the construction of a Turkmenistan-Turkey- Western Europe pipeline. Financing of the project will be discussed at the next meeting of the 10-member Economic Cooperation Organization, scheduled to start in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on 12 May.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [07] ALBANIAN UN AMBASSADOR PRAISES ITALIAN-LED MISSION

    Pellumb Kulla told a press conference in New York yesterday that the situation in his country has improved since Operation Alba began earlier this month. He says that the foreign troops have "positively inspired" the Albanian military and police to restore order. Kulla added that most schools reopened under police protection yesterday and that the rest are slated to open today. He pointed out that the authorities are currently lifting press restrictions and that all political parties want the 29 June elections to go ahead. The ambassador noted, however, that there are still parts of the country where armed bands block access even to government officials.

    [08] LEKA ZOGU CALLS FOR GREATER ALBANIA

    The claimant to the throne said in Tirana yesterday that the unification of all Albanian-speaking areas would be in the long-term interest of all Balkan peoples and would promote regional stability. He added, however, that the Albanians must achieve unity only by peaceful means and that "the last thing we need is another conflict in the Balkans." Leka stressed that he regards himself as king of all Albanians, including those living in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro. He argued that Albanians have the same right as Germans to national unification and that the "Albanian question" exists only because of foreign interference.

    [09] ALBANIAN ROUNDUP

    An Italian army spokesman told a press conference in Tirana yesterday that Italian soldiers acted within their mandate on 28 April when they intervened to help a bus driver, whom gunmen were attacking. Also in the capital, President Sali Berisha urged the IMF yesterday to send a team of experts to investigate the collapse of the pyramid schemes. At the EU foreign ministers' conference in Luxembourg, Italian diplomats called for an international conference on Albania. And at the Black Sea conference in Istanbul, Albanian representative Mirgjind Pefiku asked for help in reviving his country's economy.

    [10] THIRD TERM FOR SERBIA'S MILOSEVIC?

    Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic told Nasa Borba today that it would be unconstitutional for President Slobodan Milosevic to serve a third term. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Ratko Markovic said to the pro-regime Belgrade daily Politika ekspres that Milosevic could seek another term when his current one runs out this year. Markovic believes that the constitutional ban on more than two terms applies only to full terms of five years each, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade yesterday. Milosevic's first time in office, the deputy prime minister argues, was shorter and hence does not count toward his constitutional limit. Observers at home and abroad have long been expecting Milosevic to run for federal Yugoslav president later this year. Growing anti-Milosevic sentiment in Montenegro, however, may have prompted him to change his tactics.

    [11] EU RETURNS TRADE PERKS TO BELGRADE

    The federal Yugoslav government applauded the decision of the EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg yesterday to restore federal Yugoslavia's commercial privileges (see RFE/RL Newsline, 29 April 1997). Belgrade says that the move will strengthen links between it and western Europe but added that the EU should have lifted curbs soon after Milosevic signed the Dayton agreement in December 1995. The EU praised what it called an improvement in the opposition's access to the state media but said that future trade privileges will depend on Belgrade's policy toward the media, Kosovo, and a new election law. Also in Luxembourg, Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski signed a four-year cooperation pact with the EU.

    [12] SERBIAN OPPOSITION SPLIT AGAIN?

    The Democratic Party says that the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) seems about to leave the Zajedno coalition, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade yesterday. SPO leader Vuk Draskovic announced that his party is launching its own pre-election campaign, which prompted the Democrats' comment. Draskovic also said he will call "all of Serbia" out on the streets again if the government refuses to talk with the opposition about election rules. Also in Belgrade, former Prime Minister Milan Panic confirmed that he has joined Zajedno, according to Nasa Borba today. Panic added that the Kosovo problem is "more or less solved" because the international community feels that the province must remain part of Serbia. Panic argues that the Albanians must now "join the system, vote, and obtain the same rights as the Serbs."

    [13] OSCE SETS UP BOSNIAN REFUGEE VOTING PROGRAM

    The OSCE announced in Vienna yesterday that Bosnian citizens living abroad can register to vote in person or by mail between 5 May and 7 June. In Bosnia itself, the OSCE will have 2,300 observers on hand for the 13-14 September local elections, more than twice the number it had for last year's vote. The OSCE still needs more money to hold the elections, however, even though Germany and the U.S. recently announced additional contributions. Many observers regard the local elections as a last chance to reverse "ethnic cleansing" because voters will have the right to vote for local governments in their original home towns.

    [14] ROMANIAN PREMIER ATTACKS OUTGOING INTELLIGENCE SERVICE CHIEF

    Premier Victor Ciorbea says that Virgil Magureanu was among the country's "last Soviet relics," RFE/RL reported. Magureanu resigned last week as director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Ciorbea told journalists in Bucharest yesterday that Moscow-trained staff in governmental and presidential institutions have been forced to quit their posts. Today, Magureanu is to submit the SRI's report for 1996 to a joint session of the bi-cameral parliament. The report was first submitted late last year but was sent back for revison following demands for clarifications.

    [15] ROMANIA, TURKEY SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and his Romanian counterpart, Emil Constantinescu, met in Istanbul yesterday and signed a free trade agreement, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. The agreement is aimed at increasing the volume of bilateral trade to $ 1 billion. The two leaders also pledged mutual support in pursuing further integration with Europe. Demirel said Turkey considers it a "priority" to back Romania's bid to join NATO.

    [16] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON

    U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen says Romania has made "tremendous progress" in asserting civilian control over the military and in modernizing its armed forces, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Cohen was welcoming Romanian Defense Minister Victor Babiuc on his arrival at the Pentagon yesterday. Cohen reiterated that for the time being, the U.S. will take no position on which countries should be invited to join the enlarged NATO. Before his meeting with Cohen, Babiuc told reporters that he hopes to convince the U.S. that NATO expansion should include both the northern and the southern flanks of the alliance. This, he said, is the only way to preserve NATO's "cohesion."

    [17] MOLDOVAN PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE REOPENS CASE AGAINST NEWS AGENCY

    The Prosecutor-General's Office has asked a court to overturn a November 1996 ruling rejecting a demand by the office that BASA-press be forced to reveal an information source within the Ministry of Defense. In June 1996, BASA-press had cited a ministry source in connection with former Minister of Defense Pavel Creanga's statement that he would the army on alert, if President Mircea Snegur attempted to dismiss him. Snegur, who was voted out of office late last year, attempted to dismiss Creanga but failed to win the support of the government. Creanga has not denied the information that BASA received from the ministry last June. The Prosecutor-General's Office says that information had affected "state interests."

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


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