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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 136, 01-07-20

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. 5, No. 136, 20 July 2001


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ASSESSES KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS
  • [02] EMBATTLED ARMENIAN PARTY LEADER SEEKS TO REASSERT CONTROL
  • [03] ARMENIAN MILITARY PROSECUTOR REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSES
  • [04] FORMER AZERBAIJANI NAVAL CAPTAIN ON TRIAL
  • [05] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION CONDEMNS SENTENCES ON WAR INVALIDS
  • [06] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION LEADER PROTESTS IMMINENT EVICTION
  • [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT OPPOSITION APPEALS TO PRESIDENT TO SCHEDULE LOCAL ELECTIONS
  • [08] RUSSIA ACCUSES GEORGIA OVER CHECHEN RADIO BROADCASTS
  • [09] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS VIGILANTE GROUP SHOULD BE DISARMED...
  • [10] ...WHILE MAJORITY FACTION LEADER PROPOSES IT BE 'TEMPORARILY' LEGALIZED
  • [11] KAZAKH DIPLOMATS SUBPOENA FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER DURING CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS
  • [12] KYRGYZ SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS VERDICT AGAINST OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [13] EUROPEAN MONITORS DEAD IN MACEDONIA
  • [14] MACEDONIAN TALKS CONTINUE AT LOWER LEVER
  • [15] MACEDONIAN BOMB ATTACKS WORK OF RACKETEERS?
  • [16] CROATIA, SLOVENIA SET TO END DISPUTES?
  • [17] SERBIAN WORKERS SMASH MINISTER'S CAR
  • [18] UNHCR PRAISES SERBIA...
  • [19] ...AS SERBIAN MINISTER PRAISES NATO
  • [20] SERBIAN MINISTER TO ANNOUNCE WAR CRIMES INDICTMENTS
  • [21] ROMANIAN PARTY LEADER PRAISES ELECTION OF CIORBEA AS PEASANTIST PARTY HEAD
  • [22] ROMANIA UNHAPPY WITH MOLDOVA'S TURN TO THE EAST?
  • [23] SIMEON'S PARTY MANDATES COALITION AGREEMENT WITH BULGARIA'S ETHNIC TURKISH PARTY
  • [24] HUNDREDS OF BULGARIAN ROMA SEEK ASYLUM IN NORWAY

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [25] There is no End Note today.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ASSESSES KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS

    In an exclusive interview with Mediamax on 18 July that was circulated by Groong the following day, Vartan Oskanian rejected charges made by his Azerbaijani counterpart Vilayet Quliev that the Karabakh peace process has been stalemated by Armenia's "unconstructive" position. Oskanian implied that it is Baku which has occupied such a position. He likewise denied Quliev's claim that the so-called "Paris principles" for resolving the Karabakh conflict are "a myth," noting that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have repeatedly referred to the existence of the framework agreed upon by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents during their talks in Paris in March and Florida in April. Oskanian also argued that the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic "has never been part of an independent Azerbaijani state." He noted that the present Azerbaijan Republic is the successor to the 1918-1902 independent Azerbaijani state that did not include Nagorno-Karabakh, and that the enclave declared its independence from Azerbaijan (in September 1991) in accordance with existing Soviet legislation. LF

    [02] EMBATTLED ARMENIAN PARTY LEADER SEEKS TO REASSERT CONTROL

    At an emergency meeting on 19 July of the board of his People's Party of Armenia (HZhK), Stepan Demirchian rejected accusations made the previous day by eight members of the party's 19-person parliamentary faction that he has betrayed his father, HZhK founder Karen Demirchian, by seeking closer ties with radical opposition groups, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 2001). Most members of the party's 117-member board concurred with Demirchian; one board member called for the eight parliamentary deputies to be expelled from the HZhK if they refuse to admit their "errors." LF

    [03] ARMENIAN MILITARY PROSECUTOR REJECTS ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSES

    At a 19 July meeting with members of the presidential Human Rights Commission, Armenia's chief military prosecutor, Gagik Djahangirian, denied claims by the commission linking him to the brutal mistreatment of servicemen in military police custody, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 and 18 July 2001). He said delinquent soldiers could only have been beaten in their respective units, but not on premises subordinate to his agency. Djahangirian further denied that military prosecutors demanded a large bribe from a Defense Ministry official in return for shelving a criminal case against him. LF

    [04] FORMER AZERBAIJANI NAVAL CAPTAIN ON TRIAL

    The trial began on 19 July in Baku's Bailov jail of former naval Captain Djanmirza Mirzoev on several charges of instigation to murder, Turan reported. Among the deaths he is accused of plotting is that in 1994 of Nakhichevan parliament speaker Afiyatdin Djalilov, who is believed to have been President Heidar Aliev's illegitimate son. Mirzoev denies the charges against him, which he says were brought in retaliation for his campaign to make public corruption within the Defense Ministry (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No. 34, 26 August 1999). LF

    [05] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION CONDEMNS SENTENCES ON WAR INVALIDS

    Opposition parties and human rights groups in Azerbaijan have unanimously denounced as "politically motivated" the jail sentences handed down on 19 July on Karabakh war invalids who clashed with police during a February hunger strike to demand increased pensions and allowances, Turan reported on 19 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 2001). Institute for Peace and Democracy Director Leyla Yusnusova commented that "it seems to be more important to the government to hold on to power by means of repressions, rather than to fulfill its commitments to the Council of Europe." (The total number of invalids jailed was nine, not 16 as erroneously reported in "RFE/RL Newsline" on 19 July on the basis of an ambiguous Turan report.) LF

    [06] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION LEADER PROTESTS IMMINENT EVICTION

    Azerbaijan National Independence Party (AMIP) Chairman Etibar Mamedov told a press conference in Baku on 19 July that the demand that AMIP vacate its present headquarters is aimed at preventing the party from functioning, Turan reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2001). He said the alternative premises the party has been offered are unsuitable, but that he would be prepared to move into the present headquarters of the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party after that organization moves to the former Justice Ministry building. He said AMIP may resort to legal action if official pressure continues. LF

    [07] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT OPPOSITION APPEALS TO PRESIDENT TO SCHEDULE LOCAL ELECTIONS

    Opposition parliament factions on 19 July appealed to President Eduard Shevardnadze to set a date for local elections that are long overdue, Caucasus Press reported. The spring parliament session ended last month without agreement being reached between the majority and opposition over the optimum procedure for selecting heads of district, city, and regional councils (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 4, No. 24, 29 June 2001). The opposition accused the majority Union of Citizens of Georgia (SMK) of deliberately postponing the adoption of new legislation on local government in a bid to retain power and the means of falsifying the outcome of future elections. An emergency parliament session scheduled for 19 July to debate draft legislation on local self-government could not take place for lack of a quorum. LF

    [08] RUSSIA ACCUSES GEORGIA OVER CHECHEN RADIO BROADCASTS

    The information department within Russian President Vladimir Putin's office issued a statement on 19 July accusing Georgia of subversion directed against Russia by allowing a Chechen radio station to broadcast to the Russian Federation from the village of Duisi in Georgia's Pankisi gorge, ITAR-TASS reported. In an admission that such a radio station does exist, a senior Georgian security official told Caucasus Press on 20 July that Georgian law-enforcement bodies are trying to locate the radio station and confiscate its equipment. LF

    [09] GEORGIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS VIGILANTE GROUP SHOULD BE DISARMED...

    Interior Minister Kakha Targamadze on 19 July called for the immediate disarming of the "Defenders of Kakheti" vigilante group created last week in response to the abduction of a local Georgian border official (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 2001), Caucasus Press reported. He argued that if the vigilantes are intent on helping to restore law and order they should join the Georgian police force. The vigilantes on 18 July released the remaining Kists and Chechens whom they seized as hostages in retaliation for that abduction, and on 19 July unblocked access roads leading to the Pankisi gorge. But their leader, Luka Ramazashvili, said the same day his volunteers will not lay down their weapons and have not retracted their demand for the release of all Georgian and foreign hostages currently held in the gorge. LF

    [10] ...WHILE MAJORITY FACTION LEADER PROPOSES IT BE 'TEMPORARILY' LEGALIZED

    Also on 19 July, Niko Lekishvili, a former minister of state who is currently the leader of the SMK parliament faction, gave a positive evaluation to the role played by the Defenders of Kakheti and proposed they be granted legal status, at least temporarily, Caucasus Press reported. Lekishvili also dismissed as "superficial" Targamadze's report on the situation in Pankisi, commenting that Targamadze and Security Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze "only told us what we already knew." LF

    [11] KAZAKH DIPLOMATS SUBPOENA FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER DURING CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS

    Kazakh diplomats issued a subpoena to former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin during U.S. Congressional hearings on 18 July on the human rights situation in Central Asia, AFX News reported. Kazakh Embassy officials subsequently apologized for doing so, claiming that they do not know either Kazhegeldin's legal address in the U.S. or who his legal representative is. One week earlier, Deputy Interior Minister Beksultan Sarkesov told journalists that a summons to Kazhegeldin to return to Kazakhstan and face criminal charges would be published in the media, as his whereabouts are unknown (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 July 2001). Speaking in Astana on 19 July, Interior Ministry spokesman Nurtai Agubaev said Kazhegeldin may be tried in absentia, Interfax reported. LF

    [12] KYRGYZ SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS VERDICT AGAINST OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER

    The Kyrgyz Supreme Court on 19 July rejected an appeal by opposition Ar- Namys Party leader and former Vice President Feliks Kulov, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Kulov was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of power (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 January 2001). The Supreme Court did, however, retract its ruling that all of Kulov's property be confiscated, and acquitted him on one minor charge of falsifying documents, according to AP. Some 80 supporters of Kulov picketed the Supreme Court building during the hearing. LF

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [13] EUROPEAN MONITORS DEAD IN MACEDONIA

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, an EU official said in Skopje on 20 July that two cease-fire monitors and their translator disappeared near Tetovo, AP reported. "Their vehicle has been found in a ravine and there's no sign of anybody. The vehicle was upside-down... It could have been a land mine or a road accident," he added. The three were last heard from late the previous afternoon. The monitors are believed to have been a Norwegian and a Slovak. Defense Ministry spokesman Marjan Djurovski said that EU monitors and KFOR troops are searching the area near the border with Kosova. He added that "all the indications are that the EU team is dead," Reuters reported. Tetovo police chief Shaip Bilalli said that the monitors' Land Rover hit a mine, and later confirmed that the three were dead. Both Reuters and AP have also confirmed the deaths. PM

    [14] MACEDONIAN TALKS CONTINUE AT LOWER LEVER

    Talks between Macedonian and Albanian representatives continued in Skopje on 19 July but only among experts. Leading Albanian politicians pulled out of the negotiations the previous day following uncompromising statements by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 2001). PM

    [15] MACEDONIAN BOMB ATTACKS WORK OF RACKETEERS?

    "Dnevnik" reported on 20 July that the recent explosion under a woman's car in Skopje was apparently intended for her husband, a director of the Skopje Alkaloid pharmaceutical company (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 2001). It was the third time recently that a leading figure of Alkaloid was targeted in a bombing. UB

    [16] CROATIA, SLOVENIA SET TO END DISPUTES?

    The governments of Croatia and Slovenia approved an agreement on 19 July designed to settle most questions that have bedeviled their relations since independence in 1991, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The text grants Slovenia an outlet to the open sea through the Gulf of Piran and provides for joint management of the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia that was built in the communist era, partly with Croatian money. Four disputed villages will remain Croatian, dpa reported. Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan and his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Drnovsek, hammered out the deal during several weeks of negotiations. Racan said, however, that he doubts that the agreement can obtain the necessary two- thirds majority in the parliament at present, "Jutarnji list" reported. He added that he expects a solution soon to the dispute over Croatian deposits in a Slovenian bank. In Ljubljana, Drnovsek appealed to the parliament to ratify not only this agreement but one on cooperation and local border traffic that Croatia approved in 1998. PM

    [17] SERBIAN WORKERS SMASH MINISTER'S CAR

    Angry employees at the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac destroyed the car of Serbian Privatization Minister Aleksandar Vlahovic when he and Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic visited the city hall there on 19 July, AP reported. Vlahovic and Djelic sought to present a plan to make loss-making Zastava profitable under state control until a foreign investor can be found. The plan envisions closing 19 of Zastava's enterprises and sacking 15,000 out of 30,000 workers. Some of those fired will receive benefits for two years. Zastava is one of many rust-bucket industries that Serbia must radically restructure or close down in order to break with the communist past. During the approximately 13 years of former President Slobodan Milosevic's rule, communist-era institutions were largely left intact. PM

    [18] UNHCR PRAISES SERBIA...

    Eric Morris, the UNHCR's special envoy in the Balkans, said in Skopje on 19 July that "there is one location in all of former Yugoslavia now where the return of the minority population is warmly welcomed, and that location is Serbia [in the Presevo valley]. Who would have imagined that? It really puts to shame Albanian leaders in Kosovo," to which most Serbian refugees are afraid to return, Reuters reported. Referring to Presevo, Morris noted that "there is a lot of return going on." He added that more than 500 people are believed to have returned recently to a place that had been abandoned since 1999. "That's a significant breakthrough," Morris stressed. PM

    [19] ...AS SERBIAN MINISTER PRAISES NATO

    After a visit to NATO headquarters, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic said in Belgrade on 19 July that cooperation with U.S. troops in eastern Kosova near Presevo is "very important" for Belgrade in preventing new conflicts. He added that "NATO is willing to help Yugoslavia and Serbia, and we have a firm partnership relation building up. That is very important, because we still have unstable spots in our region." PM

    [20] SERBIAN MINISTER TO ANNOUNCE WAR CRIMES INDICTMENTS

    Justice Minister Vladan Batic said in Novi Sad on 19 July that he expects to announce soon the names of "Yugoslav citizens" indicted for war crimes against civilians in Kosova, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. He added that the list will include only individuals not indicted by The Hague- based war crimes tribunal. Batic added that the Serbian authorities will request from the tribunal that Serbian President Milan Milutinovic and other Yugoslav citizens indicted by the tribunal be tried in Serbia. PM

    [21] ROMANIAN PARTY LEADER PRAISES ELECTION OF CIORBEA AS PEASANTIST PARTY HEAD

    Wilfred Martens, the president of the European Popular Party (EPP), said on 19 July that he welcomes the election of former Premier Victor Ciorbea as leader of the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD), RFE/RL's Romanian Service reported. Martens said Ciorbea's election brings "back onto the political center-stage an experienced and European-minded former premier whom the EPP knows and trusts." The same day, Wim van Velzen, the vice president of the EEP group in the European Parliament, said that it will not be possible for a second "Christian-Democratic" oriented party to become a member of the EPP or the Christian-Democratic Internationale. Van Velzen's comment was in response to the reported intentions of former PNTCD leader Andrei Marga to form a second Christian-Democratic party in Romania (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2001). The anti-Ciorbea faction of the PNTCD said on 19 July that it will also hold its own "extraordinary congress." IK

    [22] ROMANIA UNHAPPY WITH MOLDOVA'S TURN TO THE EAST?

    Romanian Premier Adrian Nastase said in Bucharest on 20 July that recent developments in the Moldovan parliament might cause Romania to reexamine what he called Bucharest's "privileged relations" with Moldova, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. He didn't mention specific developments in Moldova, but he linked them to the poor economic situation in Moldova and "certain...general developments in the space of the former Soviet Union." Nastase said Romania has a choice of suspending some aspects of those "privileged relations," or to try and increase economic cooperation in order to counteract recent trends in Moldova. IK

    [23] SIMEON'S PARTY MANDATES COALITION AGREEMENT WITH BULGARIA'S ETHNIC TURKISH PARTY

    The parliamentary group of the National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) directed its leadership on 19 July to sign a coalition pact with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) party, BTA reported. NDSV parliamentary leader Plamen Panayotov said the NDSV deputies spent two hours discussing the DPS proposal before approving it. The two parties reached a coalition agreement in principle earlier this week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 July 2001). A day later, the DPS said it had some additional requests that were then considered by the NDSV. Some Bulgarian dailies reported that the NDSV and the DPS are having trouble coming to an agreement. The daily "Monitor" reads: "Crisis Over Cabinet: DPS Leader Dogan Wants Real Power, Simeon II Is Stalling." The weekly "168 Chasa" reported on 19 July that the DPS is on the verge of a split because of disagreements over the coalition agreement. PB

    [24] HUNDREDS OF BULGARIAN ROMA SEEK ASYLUM IN NORWAY

    More than 900 Bulgarian Roma have sought political asylum in Norway over the last several months, BTA reported on 19 July. Norwegian Ambassador to Bulgaria Arnt Rindal said 169 of the requests have been rejected and those people will be sent back to Bulgaria on 22 July; some 200 others have also withdrawn their applications. A Norwegian immigration official said the mass exodus to Norway was caused by exploitative tour agencies. Border Police Director Colonel Valeri Grigorov said that several of the tour operators that bussed the Roma to Oslo are being investigated, "Novinar" reported. Romany leader Vassil Danev is to present an Indian sword and a official letter to Ambassador Rindal on 19 July in recognition of Norway's "humane attitude" toward the asylum seekers. PB

    [C] END NOTE

    [25] There is no End Note today.

    20-07-01

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


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