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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 26, 97-05-07

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. 26, 7 May 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] RUSSIA TO CHAIR NEW ROUND OF TALKS ON ABKHAZIA
  • [02] GEORGIA REITERATES CLAIM TO PART OF BLACK SEA FLEET
  • [03] NEW INFORMATION ON APRIL VIOLENCE IN TAJIKISTAN
  • [04] AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CRITICIZES EXECUTION IN KAZAKSTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] UNHCR BLASTS ITALIAN DEPORTATIONS OF ALBANIAN REFUGEES
  • [06] ALBANIAN UPDATE
  • [07] CROATIA'S TUDJMAN CALLS FOR DEMILITARIZED FRONTIER
  • [08] BOSNIAN SERB TO APPEAL WAR CRIMES VERDICT
  • [09] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE
  • [10] U.S. SAYS NO TO KOSOVO ELECTIONS
  • [11] LJUBLJANA NOT READY FOR RELATIONS WITH BELGRADE
  • [12] MACEDONIA INDICTS TWO MAYORS OVER FLAG- HOISTING
  • [13] BULGARIA'S NEW PARLIAMENT CONVENES
  • [14] FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SCANDAL IN ROMANIA
  • [15] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BONN
  • [16] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON TREATY WITH UKRAINE
  • [17] CIS COMMISSION ON TRANSDNIESTER BEGINS WORK IN MOLDOVA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] RUSSIA TO CHAIR NEW ROUND OF TALKS ON ABKHAZIA

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valerii Nesterushkin told journalists yesterday that Russia will chair a new round of talks between Georgia and the leadership of the breakaway Black Sea region of Abkhazia on expanding the mandate of the CIS peacekeeeping force there, ITAR-TASS reported. The decision to broaden the peacekeepers' mandate was taken at the March CIS summit. Last week, a Russian Foreign Ministry delegation held talks with the Abkhaz leadership, which rejects the proposed deployment of peacekeepers in Ochamchira Raion and argues that no changes can be made in the force's mandate without Abkhazia's consent. Meanwhile, Leni Fischer, the president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, said in Tibilisi yesterday that the Abkhaz dispute is not an obstacle to Georgia's aspirations for full council membership.

    [02] GEORGIA REITERATES CLAIM TO PART OF BLACK SEA FLEET

    Presidential press spokesman Vakhtang Abashidze told journalists in Tbilisi yesterday that Georgia wants to participate in the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on dividing the Black Sea fleet, Interfax reported. Abashidze said that Georgia is entitled to some 20 vessels formerly stationed at the Poti naval base because of its contribution to the creation and upkeep of the fleet. Ukraine, which supports Georgia's claims, handed over one military coastguard vessel to Tibilisi last month.

    [03] NEW INFORMATION ON APRIL VIOLENCE IN TAJIKISTAN

    Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 5 May reported that some 150 people died and more than 200 were wounded when police stormed a prison in Khujand where inmates had staged an insurrection (RFE/RL Newsline, 17 April 1997). Earlier reports had said some 20 people were killed and several dozen wounded. The government is reportedly still releasing the bodies of the deceased to their families “two or three at a time” to avoid fomenting tension. The newspaper also reported that local authorities ignored a warning from Khujand residents of the 30 April assassination attempt on President Imomali Rakhmonov. Two people were killed and more than 70 wounded in the attack. Nezavisimaya Gazeta said the one grenade thrown at Rakhmonov was not responsible for all the casualties and that the president’s bodyguards began firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

    [04] AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CRITICIZES EXECUTION IN KAZAKSTAN

    Amnesty International sent a letter to the Kazak government yesterday protesting the execution of Oleg Gorozashvili. The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by RFE/RL, claims the Kazak authorities promised not to carry out the execution until the conclusion of a full investigation into Gorozashvili's case. Amnesty International twice appealed for a stay of execution, but Gorozashvili was nonetheless executed at the end of April. Kazak authorities have not revealed what charges were brought against Gorozashvili.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] UNHCR BLASTS ITALIAN DEPORTATIONS OF ALBANIAN REFUGEES

    A UN refugee affairs official said in Geneva yesterday that persons fleeing Albania should not be sent back before they have had a chance to present their case. She added that "the UNHCR remains against interdiction on the high seas and arbitrary return of people currently fleeing." Meanwhile in Rome, an Italian Interior Ministry spokesman said his country has so far deported 2,712 Albanians as "undesirables." This is about one-fifth of the total number of Albanians who have arrived in Italy this year.

    [06] ALBANIAN UPDATE

    Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's chief envoy to Albania, arrives in Tirana today to try to break the deadlock that is holding up plans for early elections in June (see RFE/RL Newsline, 6 May 1997). Meanwhile in Vlora, a bomb destroyed government welfare offices yesterday. In Elbasan, thieves stole flour from an international aid depot. And in a town south of Tirana, three people were killed when a drunk boarded a bus and set off a grenade. Unofficial tallies put the death toll in violence across Albania since early this year at about 700.

    [07] CROATIA'S TUDJMAN CALLS FOR DEMILITARIZED FRONTIER

    President Franjo Tudjman says he wants the border area between Croatia, Hungary, and federal Yugoslavia demilitarized, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Zagreb. Tudjman was speaking yesterday in Zagreb with Jacques Klein, the UN's top administrator in eastern Slavonia. Tudjman also noted that the Croatian Constitution permits dual citizenship and that he favors an agreement with Belgrade on cross-border traffic. Klein had earlier called for demilitarizing the border and for other confidence-building measures. Belgrade and Croatian Serb leaders seek dual Croatian and Yugoslav citizenship for Croatian Serbs. But Croatian officials have not endorsed the idea, pointing out that Yugoslavia does not grant its ethnic Croats or Albanians the right to dual citizenship.

    [08] BOSNIAN SERB TO APPEAL WAR CRIMES VERDICT

    Lawyers for Dusan Tadic say he will appeal his conviction for crimes against humanity and torture. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found him guilty today on 11 counts dating from 1992, when he worked as a guard at the Prijedor concentration camp. The court acquitted him on 13 charges of murder. This is the first conviction of an indicted war criminal by the tribunal. Most indicted war criminals, including all major ones, are still free.

    [09] BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE

    Many Bosnian Serb refugees living in federal Yugoslavia are afraid they will lose their legal rights to remain in that country if they register to vote in the Bosnian local elections slated for September. Some observers consequently expect that only 50,000 of the 200,000 refugees will join in the ongoing registration process, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 5 May from Belgrade.

    [10] U.S. SAYS NO TO KOSOVO ELECTIONS

    Richard Miles, the U.S. charge d'affaires in Belgrade, told Kosovar shadow- state President Ibrahim Rugova in Pristina yesterday that Washington "has never supported the idea of elections for a separate parliament in Kosovo." Rugova wants to call legislative elections with foreign monitors soon because the underground parliament's mandate runs out later this month. The international community has been stressing to the Kosovars recently that their future is within Serbia and not in an independent state or a greater Albania. Diplomats have also been urging the Kosovars to take part in Serbian political life as a means of promoting democracy throughout federal Yugoslavia.

    [11] LJUBLJANA NOT READY FOR RELATIONS WITH BELGRADE

    Government spokesman Ivo Vajgl told state radio in Ljubljana yesterday that it is unlikely Slovenia and federal Yugoslavia will establish diplomatic relations in the near future. Serbian opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said in the same program that the main obstacle to setting up formal ties between the two former Yugoslav republics is the "stubborn Serbian bureaucracy." Belgrade insists that federal Yugoslavia is the sole legal successor to Tito's Yugoslavia, while the other republics want a division of former federal assets among all six ex-Yugoslav republics.

    [12] MACEDONIA INDICTS TWO MAYORS OVER FLAG- HOISTING

    The Interior Ministry filed charges in Gostivar on 5 May against the mayors and some other officials of the predominantly Albanian towns of Gostivar and Tetovo, Macedonian media reported yesterday. The accused allegedly ordered the Albanian flag to be flown from public buildings during recent holidays. In some areas the Turkish flag was also hoisted in contravention of laws on displaying foreign symbols. Macedonian media say that Radio Tirana subsequently defended and encouraged the display of the Albanian flag on Macedonian territory.

    [13] BULGARIA'S NEW PARLIAMENT CONVENES

    The new parliament is convening today for the first time. Earlier this week, Ivan Kostov, the leader of the United Democratic Forces (ODS) and the most likely candidate for premier, held separate consultations with leaders of the other parliamentary groups to discuss a multi-party "Declaration of National Consensus" on the stabilization of the national currency and proposed economic reform. The declaration, as envisaged by the ODS, endorses the IMF recommendation for a currency board controlling monetary policy, supports the opening of the former secret police files on political leaders and judges, and backs the bid to join NATO and the EU. Georgi Parvanov, the leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) said his formation supports most of the declaration's points but noted that the BSP remains opposed to NATO membership. He said his party will make its own proposals on opening secret police files.

    [14] FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE SCANDAL IN ROMANIA

    President Emil Constantinescu says he has dismissed two deputy directors of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) for leaking information to the National Peasant Party--Christian Democratic (PNTCD) and the Democratic Party (PD). Both parties are members of the ruling coalition. Constantinescu told RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau yesterday that Gen. Constantin Silinescu and Gen. Dumitru Ciobanu leaked the information "recently" and not during the 1996 election campaign, as was claimed last month by the main opposition Party of Social Democracy in Romania. Constantinescu added he sees no reason to dismiss SIE director Ioan Talpes, who, he said, was not involved in leaking the information and whose "performance is good." Ion Diaconescu and Petre Roman, the leaders of the PNTCD and the PD, had denied that SIE information had been leaked to their parties.

    [15] ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BONN

    Victor Babiuc says Romania's geo-strategic position in the Balkan region and on the Black Sea makes it "an important communication link" between NATO's southern and northern tiers, German media reported. Babiuc, who is in Bonn at the invitation of his German counterpart, Volker Ruhe, told the Friedrich Ebert Foundation yesterday that his country's admission to NATO would improve the organization's security and reduce Romania's own defense costs. Babiuc is currently touring several West European countries in a bid to improve Romania's chances of NATO membership. His next two stops are Norway and Holland.

    [16] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON TREATY WITH UKRAINE

    Ion Iliescu, the former president and the current leader of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, says Foreign Minister Adrian Severin should attach a "letter of clarification" to the treaty with Ukraine before it is signed in order to prevent "some of [its] grave consequences," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported yesterday. Iliescu was speaking after a meeting between President Emil Constantinescu and opposition representatives to discuss the treaty. Iliescu said the letter should "make explicit" the condemnation of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and that the signing ceremony should take place after the Madrid July summit on NATO enlargement to avoid the impression that the treaty is being signed under pressure. At the same time, he stressed the PDSR will vote in favor of the treaty.

    [17] CIS COMMISSION ON TRANSDNIESTER BEGINS WORK IN MOLDOVA

    A CIS Parliamentary Assembly commission headed by Vasilii Likhachev, deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council, started its work in Moldova yesterday, Infotag reported. Mihai Laur, the Moldovan member of the commission, told ITAR-TASS that the commission backs the idea of granting "large economic powers" to the Tiraspol authorities within the framework of the envisaged accord on a special status for the region. But he emphasized that "political decisions" must be taken in Chisinau alone. At Moldova's request, the commission was set up in March 1996 to help find a settlement to the Transdniestrian conflict. Meanwhile in Moscow, Moldovan presidential adviser Anatol Taranu said Russia and Ukraine must make explicit declarations guaranteeing Moldova's territorial integrity at tomorrow's signing of the memorandum on the settlement of the conflict between Chisinau and Tiraspol, Mediafax reports.

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


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