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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 36, 97-05-22

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. 36, 22 May 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ABKHAZIA PROPOSES RUSSIA-CHECHEN TREATY AS MODEL FOR SETTLEMENT
  • [02] GEORGIA, TURKEY DISCUSS MILITARY COOPERATION
  • [03] UZBEK PRESIDENT ENCOURAGES GREATER FAMILIARITY WITH LAW
  • [04] NEW INVESTIGATION OF KYRGYZ JOURNALIST

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS WANT ELECTION MONITORING
  • [06] OSCE DECIDES ON ALBANIAN ROLE
  • [07] TENSIONS RISE ON ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN BORDER
  • [08] U.S. URGES GERMANY TO HOLD OFF ON DEPORTING BOSNIANS
  • [09] TUNNELS FOUND IN MOSTAR
  • [10] CROATIA PROTESTS TO HAGUE COURT
  • [11] SERBS DISCUSS KOSOVO
  • [12] ROMANIA, UKRAINE TO SIGN TREATY NEXT MONTH
  • [13] ROMANIA REFUSES ENTRY TO U.S.-EXPELLED NAZI
  • [14] BELL HELICOPTER MAIN SHAREHOLDER IN ROMANIAN COMPANY
  • [15] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REFUSES CHANGE TO HOUSE RULES
  • [16] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW CABINET
  • [17] BULGARIAN PREMIER DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF BANK CHIEF

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ABKHAZIA PROPOSES RUSSIA-CHECHEN TREATY AS MODEL FOR SETTLEMENT

    Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba told journalists in Sukhumi on 20 May that he favors signing a treaty with Georgia similar to the 12 May Russian- Chechen peace treaty, ITAR-TASS reported. Ardzinba said such a treaty would contribute to the normalization of relations between Abkhazia and the Georgian government. Igor Akhba, Abkhazia's representative in Moscow, told Interfax on 21 May that such a treaty would preclude the use or threat of force. Akhba said talks between Tbilisi and Sukhumi on economic cooperation and Abkhazia's future status within Georgia can take place only after a peace treaty is signed and Russia's economic blockade of Abkhazia lifted.

    [02] GEORGIA, TURKEY DISCUSS MILITARY COOPERATION

    Agreements signed during the 16-20 May visit to Tbilisi by Col.-Gen. Cetin Dogan, Turkish first deputy chief of staff, provide for the training of Georgian officers in Turkish military academies and the participation of Georgian servicemen in peacekeeping operations in which Turkey is involved, ITAR-TASS reported. Turkey will train a Georgian commando unit and provide the Georgian armed forces with non-combat material supplies. Georgian trainees will receive Turkish-language instruction, according to BS-Press.

    [03] UZBEK PRESIDENT ENCOURAGES GREATER FAMILIARITY WITH LAW

    Islam Karimov told a group of legal experts and journalists on 20 May that there is a need in Uzbekistan for citizens to be more familiar with the law, Interfax reported. Karimov said "the rights and interests of the individual" are of greatest importance but that he doubted the people "fully and deeply" realized what their rights, both political and civil, are. He encouraged those present to make the law accessible for everyone by using "simple and understandable terminology." He also proposed opening legal education centers.

    [04] NEW INVESTIGATION OF KYRGYZ JOURNALIST

    The judge in the trial of Yrysbek Omurzakov ordered on 21 May a new investigation into charges against the journalist, RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek report. Omurzakov is charged with libel for an article he wrote on alleged abuse of authority by a factory director in Bishkek. Both Amnesty International and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists have sent several letters to Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev asking him to intervene in the case. Omurzakov has been in detention since March and is to remain in custody pending the results of the new investigation.

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS WANT ELECTION MONITORING

    Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano said in a declaration in Tirana on 21 May that his party will take part in the 29 June elections if the international community monitors them. Socialist Prime Minister Bashkim Fino made the same point in a letter to Franz Vranitzky, the OSCE's special envoy to Albania. It is unclear whether the smaller parties agree, since their main concern is not monitoring but rather increasing the number of parliamentary seats elected by proportional representation. Meanwhile, Fino is continuing talks aimed at securing an all-party agreement on the elections.

    [06] OSCE DECIDES ON ALBANIAN ROLE

    OSCE officials discussed in Vienna on 21 May what that organization will do if Albanian political parties fail to reach an overall pact on holding elections. Vranitzky announced on 22 May that the Albanian parties have reached such an agreement, but no details have been given. One OSCE participant called the 29 June date a "total fantasy" in view of the anarchy prevailing in much of Albania. Other participants noted, however, that there is little hope of ending the turmoil or disbanding the rebel committees without an early vote. Vranitzky, Italian leaders, and other representatives of the international community have hinted that they are running out of patience and that outside aid to Albania will cease if there are no elections.

    [07] TENSIONS RISE ON ALBANIAN-MACEDONIAN BORDER

    The Macedonian Defense Ministry said in Skopje on 21 May that armed incidents are increasing along the Albanian frontier. The worst single case was a four-hour gun battle between Albanian bands and Macedonian security forces near Debar on 19 May. Defense Minister Blagoje Handziski visited the area the next day and promised to step up security along the border, which is already officially closed. In an other incident, a peacekeeper was wounded on 20 May by shots fired from the Albanian side of the frontier.

    [08] U.S. URGES GERMANY TO HOLD OFF ON DEPORTING BOSNIANS

    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said in Washington on 21 May that "the United States strongly supports the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons to Bosnia. [But Washington also believes] that it is premature to return forcibly Bosnians to areas where their ethnic group is in the minority." The next day, German Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said that Germany does not need any advice from abroad. The State Department also announced the appointment of David Schefferas special envoy to deal with war crimes. He is currently an adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who will visit Sarajevo at the end of the month. Meanwhile, U.S. charge d'affaires in Belgrade Richard Miles heard complaints from Sandzak human rights activists in Novi Pazar on 21 May.

    [09] TUNNELS FOUND IN MOSTAR

    Local Croatian authorities said in Mostar on 21 May that they have discovered a "catacomb" of tunnels under a road separating Croatian and Muslim positions on the west bank of the Neretva. The officials did not speculate on the purpose of the network, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Herzegovina's main town. In Sarajevo, four non-nationalist opposition parties said they will run a joint slate in the September local elections. Spokesmen added that their goal is to keep control of Tuzla and win at least one of the districts of Sarajevo. The parties' "shadow government" includes people from either side of the inter-entity frontier.

    [10] CROATIA PROTESTS TO HAGUE COURT

    Justice Minister Miroslav Separovic sent an open letter to the war crimes tribunal on 21 May charging that the court violated Croatian sovereignty by conducting investigations in the country without the government's permission. Also in Zagreb, Foreign Minister Mate Granic said that Croatia needs $3 billion in foreign assistance to help resettle returning Serbian refugees. In Vukovar, UN officials stated that fewer people than expected took advantage of a three-day program to exchange Yugoslav dinars for Croatian kunas (see RFE/RL Newsline, 19 May 1997). The officials added, however, that most local Serbs are using "other mechanisms" to convert their dinars to Croatian currency.

    [11] SERBS DISCUSS KOSOVO

    Representatives of several political parties met in Kosovo's Decani monastery and agreed that the province must remain part of Serbia and that the ethnic Serbs there must enjoy full rights. The parties also called for a democratic, peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem. Neither the governing Socialists nor Vojislav Seselj's Radicals attended the meeting, BETA noted. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Bratislava Morina, the federal official in charge of refugees, said that only 10% of the Bosnian refugees entitled to register to vote for the September elections have done so. Morina called for an extension of the registration deadline and said refugees' fears that voting will lead to deportation to Bosnia are "unfounded."

    [12] ROMANIA, UKRAINE TO SIGN TREATY NEXT MONTH

    The basic treaty initialed between the Romanian and Ukrainian foreign ministers on 3 May (see RFE/RL Newsline, 5 May 1997) will be signed by the two country's presidents, Emil Constantinescu and Leonid Kuchma, on 2 June in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. The announcement was made by President Kuchma in Kyiv and was confirmed by the Romanian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. On the same occasion, the signatories will exchange letters detailing the agreed solutions to problems not mentioned in the treaty. Among these are the non-deployment of offensive weapons by Ukraine on the Black Sea Serpents Island, navigation on the Chilia branch of the Danube River delta and the delimitation of the continental shelf around Serpents Island. In the treaty itself, the two countries recognize present frontiers as inviolable and grant extensive rights to each other's national minorities.

    [13] ROMANIA REFUSES ENTRY TO U.S.-EXPELLED NAZI

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Nikolaus Schiffer lost his Romanian citizenship when he joined the German SS in 1943 and will not be allowed back in the country. The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this week that it would deport Schiffer, who was a concentration camp guard during World War II, to Romania (see RFE/RL Newsline, 20 May 1997). RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reports that the ministry's spokeswoman said on 21 May that Schiffer lost his Romanian citizenship in line with the provisions of a 1939 law that prohibited service in foreign armies. She said Romania had on these grounds rejected a U.S. request in 1995 to allow Schiffer to return and had not been approached since.

    [14] BELL HELICOPTER MAIN SHAREHOLDER IN ROMANIAN COMPANY

    The U.S. Bell Textron Helicopter company has acquired 70% of the shares in the Brasov IAR aircraft company, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 21 May. The remaining shares are to be held by IAR employees. An agreement signed the same day in Bucharest stipulates that the Bell Textron IAR subsidiary will produce 96 Cobra helicopters, to be called AH-1 Ro Dracula, for the Romanian Defense Ministry.

    [15] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT REFUSES CHANGE TO HOUSE RULES

    The parliament on 21 May rejected an initiative to change house rules to allow deputies who have left the faction on whose lists they were elected to form new factions, Infotag reported. The initiative was submitted by 18 members of the house who, at different times, quit their parties. The largest number of supporters were defectors from the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova and from the Socialist Unity-Edinstvo faction. Opponents of the initiative said it would encourage factionalism and thereby complicate and even paralyze the work of the legislature.

    [16] BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW CABINET

    The parliament on 21 May confirmed Prime Minister Ivan Kostov's government by a vote of 179 to 55. All deputies present, except for the opposition Socialists, voted in favor. Kostov told legislators that the "years of false reform" and "officially-sanctioned theft" have come to an end. He said his cabinet would immediately set to work to "bring Bulgaria into the 21st century as a civilized European country." The immediate priority of the government, he said, is to stabilize the national currency by tying the domestic money supply to foreign exchange reserves. The government would also privatize many state companies, sell off state banks, cut bureaucracy, and intensify the struggle against organized crime. Kostov said joining the EU and NATO are the country's main foreign policy goals.

    [17] BULGARIAN PREMIER DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF BANK CHIEF

    In his first act as premier, Ivan Kostov on 21 May demanded the resignation of State Savings Bank (DKS) chief Bistra Dimitrova. Dimitrova said she will resign by the end of the week. She was appointed to head the bank, where most Bulgarians keep their savings, by the previous Socialist-controlled parliament. An RFE/RL Sofia correspondent says Kostov's demand indicates his intention to do away with credit policies at state banks that are alleged to be politically-biased. The DKS is blamed for issuing bad loans to companies with links to the former Socialist government and failing to protect the interests of savers.

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


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