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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 23, 97-05-02

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. 23, 2 May 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ATTACK ON TAJIK PRESIDENT CONDEMNED
  • [02] KAZAKSTAN PRESIDENT DISSATISFIED WITH NATIONAL BANK
  • [03] NEW ROUND OF KARABAKH TALKS SCHEDULED
  • [04] ELCHIBEY, GAMBAR ELECTED CHAIRMEN OF AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION BLOC

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] ALBANIA'S FINO WANTS TOUGHER MANDATE FOR FOREIGN TROOPS
  • [06] ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO RESIGN OVER VOTING LAW
  • [07] SERBIAN POLICE ARREST FIVE IN KOSOVO
  • [08] BILDT WANTS U.S. TROOPS REDEPLOYED TO BALKANS. . .
  • [09] ...AND LEAVES DOOR OPEN TO TALKS WITH KARADZIC
  • [10] SERBS STONE RETURNING REFUGEES IN BRCKO
  • [11] ROUNDUP FROM AROUND THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
  • [12] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR REJECTS ACCUSATIONS
  • [13] ROMANIA APOLOGIZES TO GERMANY
  • [14] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT VISITS FRANCE
  • [15] BULGARIAN PATRIARCH FILES COMPLAINT WITH EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
  • [16] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS SOFIA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ATTACK ON TAJIK PRESIDENT CONDEMNED

    Many countries and Tajik political groups denounced the 30 April attempt on the life of Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov in the northern Tajik city of Khujand, international press reported. Russia, Iran, China, the U.S., Tajikistan's Central Asian neighbors and the United Tajik Opposition and National Revival Movement made official statements condemning the attack. The incident left two dead and more than 70 injured, including Rakhmonov. Tajik authorities have taken 20-year- old Firdaws Dostoboyev into custody but more arrests are promised soon. At a meeting of the Tajik government and parliament yesterday, a statement "by many of the participants" claimed "practically 40% of employees in the power structures of Tajikistan" are criminals or have close connections with mafia groups, ITAR-TASS reported.

    [02] KAZAKSTAN PRESIDENT DISSATISFIED WITH NATIONAL BANK

    Nursultan Nazarbayev says there is still room for improvement at the National Bank, despite signs of progress, according to Interfax and ITAR- TASS. The bank reports published on 28 April show net assets increased by 21.7% in 1996. International reserves rose by 30.8% and gold reserves by 45.7%, compared with the beginning of 1996. Gold reserves now make up 49.95% of the country's hard currency reserves. Nazarbayev noted that the National Bank is purchasing less gold from local producers and that gold production dropped to 10.2 tons in 1996, far short of the government goal of 60-70 tons annually. The bank blamed decreased production on the drop in gold prices last year, but Nazarbayev recommended that more gold be put into the country's reserves. He also said he is against selling gold mines and processing facilities to foreign entrepreneurs.

    [03] NEW ROUND OF KARABAKH TALKS SCHEDULED

    Another round of OSCE-mediated talks on Nagorno-Karabakh will take place in the U.S. later this month, Interfax reported yesterday. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met in Moscow yesterday with the three co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk group and expressed their shared concern at the recent ceasefire violations and ongoing lack of progress toward a political settlement, according to ITAR-TASS.

    [04] ELCHIBEY, GAMBAR ELECTED CHAIRMEN OF AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION BLOC

    Former Azerbaijani president Abulfaz Elchibey and Musavat Party chairman Isa Gambar were elected co-chairmen of the Democratic Congress bloc on 30 April, Interfax and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reported yesterday. The bloc unites seven pro-Western right wing opposition parties.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] ALBANIA'S FINO WANTS TOUGHER MANDATE FOR FOREIGN TROOPS

    Prime Minister Bashkim Fino said in Tirana yesterday that he has asked Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's special envoy, to extend Operation Alba's mandate to include guarding borders and ammunition dumps. Fino argues that the country's military cannot do it on its own. His request comes in response to an April 30 explosion in Burrel that killed 27 people as they were looting an underground ammunition depot for empty shell casings. Defense Minister Shakir Vukaj has since fired two regional commanders because of the incident. The army's inability to control the borders has provided an incentive to looters, who then smuggle scrap metal and other booty abroad.

    [06] ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT THREATENS TO RESIGN OVER VOTING LAW

    Fino also said in Tirana that his broad coalition government will quit if there is no suitable election law in place for the 29 June emergency ballot. Fino's Socialists and President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party failed to agree on a text on 30 April. The Socialists and the other parties opposing the Democrats insist on a new law as a guarantee against the abuses that marred last year's parliamentary vote. They also want to introduce a system of proportional representation to enable smaller parties to enter parliament.

    [07] SERBIAN POLICE ARREST FIVE IN KOSOVO

    Police on 30 April charged five ethnic Albanians with planning terrorist activities over the 1 May holiday, the official Tanjug news agency reported from Belgrade. A police statement said that the five belong to the clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), which has killed 12 so far this year. Until a few months ago, the UCK conducted only apparently random attacks on Serbs. More recently, however, its killings have become more frequent, more professional, and increasingly directed at those ethnic Albanians whom it says collaborate with the Belgrade government.

    [08] BILDT WANTS U.S. TROOPS REDEPLOYED TO BALKANS. . .

    Carl Bildt, the international community's High Representative in Bosnia- Herzegovina, said in Washington yesterday that the U.S. should transfer some of its troops from Germany to southeastern Europe. Bildt said that soldiers stationed in Germany are "deployed in order to counter a Soviet threat that is no longer there." He added that the real threat to security in Europe today lies in the Balkans. The former Swedish prime minister also called "somewhat naive" U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen's claim that the civilian provisions of the Dayton agreement have not been implemented as well as the military ones.

    [09] ...AND LEAVES DOOR OPEN TO TALKS WITH KARADZIC

    On 30 April, Bildt told the U.N. Security Council that it might be necessary to have "business contacts" with indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Bildt called him "a force of evil and intrigue," but added that Karadzic is "an elected representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina." According to the Dayton agreement, signatories are obliged to hand over all indicted war criminals to the Hague-based tribunal. Under a deal reached between the international community and the Bosnian Serbs last year, Karadzic is supposed to leave public life completely.

    [10] SERBS STONE RETURNING REFUGEES IN BRCKO

    Bosnian Serb crowds yesterday attacked two buses carrying Muslim refugees on a visit to their homes in the strategic northern town of Brcko. The Social Democratic Party organized the trip, during which party leader Zlatko Lagumdzija was among those wounded. Serb youths also stoned a bus bringing in U.S. troops from Hungary. Earlier that day, Brcko's exiled Muslim mayor, Munib Jusufovic, resigned to protest what he called decisions by the international community to force returning Muslims to take out Bosnian Serb identity papers, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sarajevo.

    [11] ROUNDUP FROM AROUND THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

    Also in the Bosnian capital, Bildt's office announced yesterday that the international Bosnian aid donors' conference has been cancelled because the Muslims, Croats, and Serbs cannot agree on basic economic legislation for the republic. Still in Sarajevo, the OSCE said that voters crossing the inter- entity border to vote in September's local elections must go directly to their designated polling place and not try to visit their former homes. In Croatia's Karlovac, vandals desecrated Jewish graves. City officials and police have launched an investigation, Novi List writes this morning. In Zagreb, the authorities have assigned an additional frequency to independent Radio 101, one of Croatia's few independent broadcasters. And in Belgrade, several thousand people turned out to demonstrate against President Slobodan Milosevic and poor living conditions, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the Serbian capital.

    [12] ROMANIAN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR REJECTS ACCUSATIONS

    In his last speech as director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), Virgil Magureanu on April 30 rejected accusations that he or other SRI members had been serving interests of the KGB or other foreign powers, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Magureanu also rejected accusations that the report he presented to parliament on his activities had an anti- Western bias. Speaking later to reporters, Magureanu confirmed that former President Ion Iliescu had offered him a place on the list of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania before the 1996 elections. Magureanu said he intends to enter political life and that his views are "centrist." He promised never to use information gathered during his tenure for political purposes.

    [13] ROMANIA APOLOGIZES TO GERMANY

    Romania has apologized to Germany for the first time for having deported ethnic German inhabitants to the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Severin expressed what he termed "deep regret, together with apologies for what happened," during German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel's visit to Romania. Kinkel told the Romanian parliament on 30 April that Bucharest's bid to join NATO is being examined with great attention, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He said the results of NATO's July summit in Madrid are still unforeseeable, and that the alliance will remain open for partners who are not invited to join in July. He told the legislators that the EU's criteria will be "equal and transparent" for all candidate countries. He also pledged that the new Europe would be without "lines of separation or marginalization."

    [14] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT VISITS FRANCE

    Petar Stoyanov arrived in France yesterday on an official three-day visit. His delegation includes a group of Bulgarian businessmen and caretaker Economy Minister Alexander Bozhkov, who is expected to keep his post in a new government named later this month. Stoyanov's schedule includes talks with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Alain Juppe. RFE/RL's Sofia bureau reports that Stoyanov will seek support for Sofia's bid to join NATO. Bulgaria is not expected to be among the first candidates invited. Meanwhile, today Bulgaria's Interim Prime Minister Stefan Sofianski and U.S. presidential adviser Richard Shifter held talks in Sofia. The talks focused on regional cooperation.

    [15] BULGARIAN PATRIARCH FILES COMPLAINT WITH EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

    The head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Maxim, has filed a complaint with the European Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg against the Bulgarian Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General, a spokesman for the Holy Synod told an RFE/RL correspondent on 1 May. If the commission accepts the complaint, Patriach Maxim may take the case to the European Court. Patriarch Maxim is protesting a July ruling of the Bulgarian Supreme Court, which indirectly upheld an earlier decision of the then Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) government, pronouncing Maxim's Holy Synod illegitimate and supporting an alternative Synod, led by another Patriarch, Pimen. Maxim's Synod was pronounced illegitimate because most of its members were not elected, but appointed by the former Communist regime.

    [16] ROMANIAN PRESIDENT VISITS SOFIA

    Romania's President Emil Constantinescu met with Stoyanov in Sofia on 30 April. RFE/RL's Sofia bureau quoted Stoyanov's press service as saying that the presidents were coordinating their positions on efforts to join NATO. Earlier this month, Constantinescu said Romania and Bulgaria "are not competitors, but partners" on the road to both the EU and NATO. The two presidents also discussed bilateral relations, including a joint project for building at least one new bridge across the Danube River border.

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


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