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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 1, No. 173, 97-12-05

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. 173, 5 December 1997


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] NO PROGRESS IN KARABAKH TALKS
  • [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR CHANGES IN BUDGET
  • [03] MESKHETIANS PROTEST DRAFT LAW ON RIGHTS OF REPRESSED
  • [04] AJARIAN LEADER SEES GEORGIANS BEHIND DEATH RAY ATTACK
  • [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT IN TURKMENISTAN
  • [06] NAZARBAYEV WARNS OPPOSITION PARTY
  • [07] CHAIRMAN OF KYRGYZ STATE PROPERTY FUND SACKED

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [08] KOSOVO GUERRILLAS CLAIM PLANE DOWNED
  • [09] ARRESTS FOLLOW EXPLOSION AT SERBIAN FACTORY
  • [10] SERBIA'S CROATS BACK MILOSEVIC'S CANDIDATE
  • [11] MONTENEGRIN ALBANIANS DEMAND OPEN BORDER
  • [12] MONTENEGRIN MEDIA CHIEFS RESIGN
  • [13] PLAVSIC IN SARAJEVO
  • [14] BOSNIAN POLICE ARREST 40 ALLEGED TERRORISTS
  • [15] UN TO LEAVE MACEDONIA IN AUGUST
  • [16] MACEDONIA, ALBANIA SIGN BORDER PACT
  • [17] UNESCO DECLARES ALBANIAN SITE ENDANGERED
  • [18] ROMANIA'S NEW FINANCE MINISTER WAS SECURITATE MEMBER
  • [19] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [20] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] NO PROGRESS IN KARABAKH TALKS

    The co-chairmen of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group made no progress during talks in Stepanakert on 3-4 December, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. The Karabakh authorities rejected the OSCE's principle of a step-by-step approach, which both Armenia and Azerbaijan have accepted. They also repeated their insistence on a package deal. PG

    [02] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR CHANGES IN BUDGET

    During a 4 December debate on the government's proposed 1998 budget, various political groups criticized the draft for alleged failing to promote the "development" of Armenia, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. The parliament asked that the cabinet revise the budget and resubmit it on 5 December. The government may seek a vote of confidence as a means of pushing through its budget proposal. Under the Armenian constitution, the government can ask for a vote of confidence and, if it wins that vote, the draft becomes law. PG

    [03] MESKHETIANS PROTEST DRAFT LAW ON RIGHTS OF REPRESSED

    Representatives of the Muslim Meskhetians who were deported from Georgia in November 1994 are continuing their protest against a new draft Georgian law that would give special benefits to Georgian citizens who were repressed in the past but would not help them because they are not citizens of the Republic of Georgia. According to a 4 December appeal by the International Meskhetian Youth Association, the group hopes to meet with President Eduard Shevardnadze. It also called on international organizations to intercede on the behalf of the Meskhetians. PG

    [04] AJARIAN LEADER SEES GEORGIANS BEHIND DEATH RAY ATTACK

    Aslan Abashidze, the outspoken leader of the autonomous Ajarian region in southern Georgia, said on local television on 4 December that assailants from Georgia used a special death ray camera to cause him to have a heart attack last summer. "The camera gave off electromagnetic rays, which led to my heart attack," Abashidze said. "Without the quick intervention of the doctors, I would have died." Georgian officials did not comment on his charges. PG

    [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT IN TURKMENISTAN

    Shevardnadze, paying a one-day visit to Turkmenistan on 5 December, met with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, RFE/RL correspondents in Ashgabat reported. The two signed eight agreements, including one on avoiding double taxation and another on industrial cooperation Discussions also focused on rescheduling Georgia's debt to Turkmenistan for gas supplies, which totals $464.9 million. BP

    [06] NAZARBAYEV WARNS OPPOSITION PARTY

    At a 4 December press conference in Almaty, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev warned the leaders of AZAMAT that a repeat of the 30 November demonstration in front of the Kazakh parliament building could lead to criminal charges being filed against them, RFE/RL correspondents reported. Nazarbayev called such demonstrations illegal, saying it would be up to the Constitutional Court to make any changes to the 1995 decree banning unsanctioned rallies. He added that anyone who organizes such meetings could face between three and five years in jail. BP

    [07] CHAIRMAN OF KYRGYZ STATE PROPERTY FUND SACKED

    Askar Sarygulov was dismissed by presidential decree on 4 December, ITAR- TASS reported. His sacking followed a six-month investigation by a special commission that found the chairman had been "incompetent" in carrying out his duties and had "lost control" of the fund. The commission also found that Kyrgyzstan lost 25 million som (some $1.5 million) during Sarygulov's tenure as chairman of the fund and that 10 percent of state property so far privatized was sold at below market prices. Seven criminal charges have been filed against Sarygulov. BP

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [08] KOSOVO GUERRILLAS CLAIM PLANE DOWNED

    The clandestine Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) issued a press statement in Pristina on 4 December claiming responsibility for a recent series of violent incidents in Serbia's mainly ethnic Albanian province (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 December 1997). The statement added that the UCK shot down a Yugoslav Airlines trainer on 26 November near Pristina airport. Police had earlier said that a technical problem caused the crash, in which five people died. Elsewhere in Pristina, Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova called on the U.S. to take the lead in solving the Kosovo problem. PM

    [09] ARRESTS FOLLOW EXPLOSION AT SERBIAN FACTORY

    Police arrested the director and five employees of an explosives factory in Lucani, near Cacak, on 4 December. An explosion at the plant the previous day killed four workers and left six more seriously injured. PM

    [10] SERBIA'S CROATS BACK MILOSEVIC'S CANDIDATE

    Bela Tonkovic, the chairman of the Democratic League of Croats of Vojvodina (DSHV), told an RFE/RL correspondent in Subotica on 4 December that his organization endorses Milan Milutinovic in the 7 December Serbian presidential vote. Tonkovic added that Milutinovic is one of only two candidates who answered a recent appeal by the DSHV calling for the normalization of ties between Zagreb and Belgrade. The Kosovo Albanian leadership, for its part, has announced a boycott of the election on the grounds that none of the Serbian candidates has addressed Albanian concerns about Kosovo. The latest polls give ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj a comfortable lead to over Milutinovic, who is allied with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Seselj won more votes that Milosevic's candidate, Zoran Lilic, in the 5 October ballot, but that election was declared invalid because of low turnout. PM

    [11] MONTENEGRIN ALBANIANS DEMAND OPEN BORDER

    The town council of Ulcinj, near the Albanian frontier, appealed to the Montenegrin authorities on 5 December to open four border crossings. The council of the mainly ethnic Albanian town said the move is necessary to end the region's and Yugoslavia's isolation, BETA news agency reported. The officials also asked the federal authorities to end visa requirements for foreigners in order to attract tourists. Montenegrin President-elect Milo Djukanovic, who was supported by the ethnic Albanians in the 5 October vote, wants to end Montenegro's isolation in order to revive tourism and shipping. PM

    [12] MONTENEGRIN MEDIA CHIEFS RESIGN

    Zoran Jocovic, the director-general of Montenegrin Radio and Television, and Predrag Bulatovic, the chairman of the board, resigned in Podgorica on 4 December. The two are supporters of outgoing President Momir Bulatovic, an RFE/RL corresponedent reported from Podgorica. PM

    [13] PLAVSIC IN SARAJEVO

    Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic on 4 December paid her first visit to the Bosnian capital since the war began in 1992. She appealed to German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and his French counterpart, Hubert Vedrine, for patience in the implementation of the Dayton agreement. The two ministers, however, urged Plavsic and the three members of the Bosnian joint presidency to quickly remove obstacles to implementing the treaty. They warned that the international community will punish any side deemed to be obstructing implementation, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Sarajevo. PM

    [14] BOSNIAN POLICE ARREST 40 ALLEGED TERRORISTS

    A spokesman for the UN police force confirmed in Sarajevo on 4 December that Bosnian police recently arrested some 40 persons in central Bosnian in an apparent crackdown on Islamic extremists (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 December 1997). Most of the arrests were made in the Zenica area, where a number of foreign Islamic fighters settled after the war with Bosnian wives. The Bosnian government has been under strong pressure from the international community and from Croatia to arrest the alleged terrorists, who are blamed for the deaths of returning Croatian refugees and the destruction of Roman Catholic religious sites. PM

    [15] UN TO LEAVE MACEDONIA IN AUGUST

    The UN Security Council voted in New York on 4 December to extend the mandate of the 750 UNPREDEP peacekeepers through August 1998 and to end the mission at that point. UNPREDEP is the first force in UN history aimed at preventing conflict from spreading rather than at separating warring factions. The Macedonian government wants the mainly Scandinavian and U.S. force kept on indefinitely to help ensure peace in a region plagued by ethnic tensions and political instability. Russia argues that the military component of the UN presence in Macedonia should be phased out quickly. PM

    [16] MACEDONIA, ALBANIA SIGN BORDER PACT

    Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo and his Macedonian counterpart, Blagoj Handziski, signed six agreements in Tirana on 4 December. Four of the texts are aimed at strengthening security along their common border, near which more than 100 incidents have been reported since the beginning of the year. PM

    [17] UNESCO DECLARES ALBANIAN SITE ENDANGERED

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization announced in Naples on 4 December that it has added the ancient Greek site at Butrint, near the Albanian- Greek border, to its World Heritage in Danger list. Butrint was looted during the unrest that swept Albania during the spring. Many archeological sites and museums throughout the country were looted or vandalized during the anarchy. PM

    [18] ROMANIA'S NEW FINANCE MINISTER WAS SECURITATE MEMBER

    Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea told journalists on 4 December that Daniel Daianu was a member of the former Securitate but had nothing to do with the "political arm" of the communist secret police since he worked for its foreign intelligence department. Ciorbea said once the parliament passes the law on access to Securitate files, Daianu's dossier will be re- examined. Ciorbea praised Daianu for having publicly acknowledged in 1990 that he worked for the Securitate. Ciorbea was speaking to journalists on 4 December, shortly after the parliament approved the reshuffled government, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

    [19] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA

    Petru Lucinschi and his Romanian counterpart, Emil Constantinescu, attended a ceremony in Iasi on 4 December marking the opening of a fiber optics telecommunications line linking their two countries, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Lucinschi told reporters that it is "more logical" for Moldova to press for EU membership than to pursue reunification with Romania, Reuters reported. According to Mediafax, Lucinschi also said Moldova is "unhappy" that the basic treaty with Romania has not yet been concluded. He hinted that former President Ion Iliescu was to blame but said there are still "problems" at the level of foreign minister. He added that he and Constantinescu have agreed to "demand that the [foreign ministers] present us with a report" on how the talks are progressing by January. MS

    [C] END NOTE

    [20] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES


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


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