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Newsline - September 6, 1996


OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 173, Part I, 6 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

RUSSIA

YELTSIN WILL UNDERGO HEART SURGERY. President Boris Yeltsin 5 September
announced in a televised interview that he will undergo heart surgery in
Moscow's Cardiological Center at the end of the month. Yeltsin said that
the doctors had offered him two options: either perform only non-
strenuous work or have an operation that would allow him to play a more
active role, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Yeltsin did not specify
his exact illness or the procedure required to correct it, but doctors
believe he is suffering from myocardial ischemia and faces coronary
bypass surgery, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ekho Moskvy commented
that it was the first time in the history of the country that a leader
had made such a straightforward announcement about his health. -- Robert
Orttung

LEBED, CHECHENS AGREE ON COALITION GOVERNMENT. Meeting in Noviye Atagi
on 5 September, Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed and
Chechen opposition representatives agreed on the creation of a new
Chechen coalition government that would include two ministers from the
present pro-Moscow government, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Pro-Moscow head of state Doku Zavgaev consented to this during talks
with Lebed and the head of the presidential staff Anatolii Chubais on 4
September, according to Radio Rossii. However, Zavgaev declined to
accept Chubais's proposal that he voluntarily resign. Zavgaev is also
suing Izvestiya for slander, according to Ekho Moskvy. Lebed and Chechen
Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov subsequently addressed a public meeting
in the town of Shali at which Lebed called on the population to support
the peace process and Maskhadov pledged that no Zavgaev supporters would
be harassed or killed, according to ITAR-TASS. Lebed also announced that
Russian forces would begin pulling out of Chechnya on 8 September
following an exchange of prisoners of war. -- Liz Fuller

YELTSIN BACKS LEBED EXCEPT ON QUESTION OF TROOP PULLOUT. In his first
public comments on Lebed's activities, Yeltsin said that he supports the
actions of his Security Council secretary, except for the quick
withdrawal of troops from Chechnya. Yeltsin gave his approval for Lebed
to continue his efforts, AFP reported. The 31 August accords call on the
Russian troops to make a partial withdrawal from the republic. The
Chechen rebels insist that all Russian troops must leave their territory
before there can be peace. -- Robert Orttung

CHERNOMYRDIN DISCOUNTS LEBED AGREEMENTS. Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin said that the agreements Security Council Secretary Lebed
signed with the Chechen separatists are "political documents" and do not
have "juridical standing," ITAR-TASS reported 5 September. He noted that
the federal authorities had not yet prepared a complete statement on the
political issues in Chechnya and had not decided who should sign it from
the Chechen side. Chernomyrdin claimed that there is no cause for
"euphoria" since this is the third cease-fire since the war began. --
Robert Orttung

YELTSIN, LEBED CONDEMN U.S. STRIKES AGAINST IRAQ . . . President Yeltsin
confirmed in a 5 September interview on Russian TV (RTR) that he fully
agrees with official statements released by the Russian government
condemning the U.S. missile strikes against targets in southern Iraq.
The same day, Security Council Secretary Lebed joined the chorus of
Russian voices denouncing the U.S. action, saying the U.S. is acting
like a "bull in a china shop," Reuters reported. However, the crisis
appears unlikely to have long-term consequences for U.S.-Russian
relations. First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that Russia
will oppose a British-sponsored UN resolution supporting the strikes
against Iraq but stressed that Moscow does not want the crisis to "mar
bilateral relations" between Russia and the U.S., ITAR-TASS reported. --
Laura Belin

. . . AS ZHIRINOVSKY CALLS CLINTON WORLD'S "WORST POLITICAL HOOLIGAN". .
. Denouncing the U.S. unilateral action against Iraq, Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called U.S. President Bill
Clinton the "worst political hooligan on the planet" and "worse than
Hitler," Russian media reported on 5 September. Zhirinovsky has had a
longstanding friendly relationship with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
and most recently visited Baghdad in August. On the same day,
Zhirinovsky praised Lebed's efforts to make peace in Chechnya, which he
said has "helped save the lives of many Russian soldiers," but he also
questioned the legality of the peace accords signed with the Chechen
forces, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Laura Belin

. . . BUT KURDISH GROUP PRAISES U.S. ACTION. While nearly all Russian
politicians have denounced the U.S. action, representatives of the
International Union of Kurdish Organizations held a Moscow press
conference to praise the U.S. for defending the Kurds, ITAR-TASS
reported on 5 September. A member of the Kurdish parliament in exile,
Broi Rostam, said the military strikes on Iraq were justified but added
that the Kurdish problem should be solved within the region by peaceful
means. -- Laura Belin

PRIMORE UPDATE. In response to the latest hunger strike by power workers
at Luchegorsk and the mounting energy crisis in Primore, the krai's
administration has instructed the local power company Dalenergo to sell
securities, cars, and property worth 102 billion rubles ($19 million)
within a week, NTV reported on 5 September. The proceeds are to be used
to pay workers' wages and prepare the power sector for winter. According
to Dalenergo, some homes in Vladivostok have been without power for as
long as 20 hours a day, a situation that prompted some of the city's
residents to block a major thoroughfare in protest. About 100 workers at
the Primorskii power station are now on hunger strike, and nine workers
at the Artem power station have announced their intention to join their
colleagues. Following July's energy crisis in Primore, President Yeltsin
gave krai Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko until 15 September to restore
order in the region's fuel and energy sector. -- Penny Morvant

NUCLEAR POWER WORKERS PROTEST. More than 100 workers from nine of
Russia's 11 atomic power stations picketed the headquarters of
Rosenergoatom and the Integrated Energy System company on 5 September to
demand the payment of back wages, ITAR-TASS reported. As is the case
with other power producers in Russia, the atomic power stations are owed
considerable sums by customers. As a temporary measure in response to
the payments crisis, the power plants have been accepting payment in
kind although they need money to pay taxes to the federal and regional
budgets. The Leningrad nuclear power station at Sosnovy Bor, in
particular, has been dogged by workers' protests this year because of
wage arrears and worker dissatisfaction with management. -- Penny
Morvant

SOLZHENITSYN: RUSSIA LOST WAR IN CHECHNYA. Nobel prize winner Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn said that Russia has lost the 20-month war to crush an
independence uprising in Chechnya, AFP reported on 5 September. He
suggested that Russia failed to restore its rule in the tiny republic
because it is "corrupt, incapable, stupid, and indifferent."
Solzhenitsyn approved Security Council Secretary Lebed's peace plan as
"the right decision, given the total defeat [of federal forces]." He
said Chechnya should be granted independence but added that the northern
part of the republic should remain in Russia since it is largely
inhabited by ethnic Russians and Cossacks. -- Anna Paretskaya

RODIONOV TO REFUSE SALARY UNTIL HIS TROOPS ARE PAID. Defense Minister
Igor Rodionov has decided to refuse to draw his salary until the other
members of the armed forces receive their back pay, Reuters reported on
5 September. Rodionov told the daily Komsomolskaya pravda that he would
suffer alongside his men. In response to his wife's daily question about
his pay, the general said he tells her, "When the army gets paid, then
I'll get paid." In July, Russian media revealed that even the officers
of the Defense Ministry had not been paid for two months. -- Doug Clarke

TWO AIR FORCE GENERALS DIE IN CRASH. The commander of the 23rd Air Force
and his chief of staff were killed on 4 September when their Mi-8
helicopter crashed in Siberia, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. The
helicopter carrying Lt.-Gen. Dmitrii Kutsekon and Maj.-Gen. Boris Batur
was said to be "carrying out an operational task" when it went down 117
km north of Chita. Defense Minister Igor Rodionov has appointed a
special commission to investigate the accident. -- Doug Clarke

CENTRAL BANK RELEASES DATA ON RUSSIAN INVESTMENTS ABROAD. The Central
Bank granted 165 licenses to Russian residents for direct and portfolio
hard currency investments abroad from March 1993 to March 1996, ITAR-
TASS reported on 5 September. Actual licensed investment over this
period totaled $416 million. The cumulative volume of hard-currency
investments increased from $63 million in 1993 to $278 million in 1994
and $365 million in 1995. The largest projects cleared for exporting
capital were carried out by LUKoil ($126 million), Gazprom ($108.2
million), and Surgutneftegaz ($86.6 million). The main countries hosting
Russian capital are Germany (accounting for 21 of the licenses issued by
the Central Bank for a total of $295 million), the U.S. ($166 million),
and the U.K. ($77 million). It should be noted, however, that there is a
considerable amount of Russian investment abroad that is not recorded
officially. -- Penny Morvant



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 173, Part I, 6 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

MUTALIBOV SUPPORTERS SENTENCED. The Supreme Court of Azerbaijan has
sentenced Adyl Gadzhiev, a close associate of former Azerbaijani
President Ayaz Mutalibov, and Kenan Gyurel, an Austrian citizen of
Turkish origin, to 14- and 15-year prison sentences for taking part in
the alleged March 1995 coup attempt, as a result of which at least 50
people were killed, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 September. President Heidar
Aliyev has often accused Mutalibov, who fled to Moscow in 1992, of trying
to assassinate him. -- Elin Suleymanov

HEAD OF ARMENIAN STATE RADIO DISMISSED. The head of Armenian State
Radio, Stepan Zakaryan, was dismissed on 2 September following a
controversial court case brought against him by Mikael Martirossyan, the
head of Yerevan Bread-Baking Plant No. 3, Noyan Tapan reported on 4
September. Armenian Radio had aired programs earlier this year accusing
Yerevan bakeries of selling loaves that were below the standard weight.
Martirossyan successfully sued Zakaryan and two of his editors for
slander, and Armenian Radio was forced to broadcast a retraction.
Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan recently commented that he
considered that both Zakaryan and Martirossyan were in the wrong and
that both should be dismissed. Martirossyan is a member of the ruling
Armenian National Movement (HHSh); Zakaryan is not. Several other radio
editors, including the two sued with Zakaryan, have tendered their
resignations. Noyan Tapan reported that "because of the tense situation
all radio programs are now being subject to pre-broadcast censorship."
-- Liz Fuller

TURKMEN-AFGHAN TALKS ON PIPELINE TO PAKISTAN. Afghan Deputy Foreign
Minister Abdurahim Ghafurzai held talks with Turkmen President
Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat on the construction of a natural gas
pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, ITAR-TASS
reported on 3 September. Ghafurzai was quoted as saying that officials
from his country, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and major European
and Russian companies would meet in the near future to set a date for
the construction to begin. He also noted that Turkmenistan plans to open
an embassy in Kabul and establish regular flights between Ashgabat and
the Afghan capital. -- Lowell Bezanis

HEROIN SEIZED IN TURKMENISTAN. Russian border guards killed two
suspected drug smugglers in the process of seizing a large amount of
drugs, including 24 kg of heroin, RFE/RL reported. It is the first
reported seizure of refined heroin on the Turkmen-Afghan border. The
first seizure of heroin in Central Asia occurred in Kyrgyzstan in
October 1995. In other news, Kazakstani authorities reported that about
70% of the 4.5 metric tons of drugs that they have confiscated since the
beginning of 1996 had been prepared from domestic cannabis grown in the
Chu Valley, which straddles the Kazak-Kyrgyz border, ITAR-TASS reported
on 5 September. According to local law enforcement officials, cannabis
is grown on 140 hectares of land in the Chu Valley and about 5-6 metric
tons of marijuana and hashish can be produced there every year. --
Lowell Bezanis

TURKISH-KAZAKSTANI MILITARY COOPERATION. Kazakstani Defense Minister
Alibek Kasymov signed a memorandum of understanding on a military
cooperation agreement with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on 4
September, RFE/RL reported the next day. Details have not been released.
-- Lowell Bezanis

CHINESE OFFICIAL: UIGHURS BACKED BY "FOREIGN FORCES." The chairman of
China's State Committee for Economic Reform, Li Tieying, on 5 September
said from Almaty that Uighur separatists active in the Xinjiang Uighur
Autonomous Province are "breaking our laws at the instigation of foreign
forces," AFP reported the next day. He also noted that a "small number
of people" are involved in the rebellion which Uighur exiles in
Kazakstan claim has resulted in the incarceration of an estimated 18,000
Uighur "separatists" in the last five months. At the invitation of
Kazakstan's Supreme Economic Council, Li has been discussing China's
experience with market reform in Almaty, ITAR-TASS reported on 3
September. AFP reported that journalists were asked by an unnamed Kazak
official to refrain from asking Li about Uighur separatism. -- Lowell
Bezanis

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 173, Part II, 6 September 1996

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of
the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 173, Part I, 6 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT WANTS NEW REFERENDUM DATE. The Belarusian
parliament has called for holding President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
referendum at the same time as parliamentary by-elections on 24
November, instead of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, 7
November, as proposed by Lukashenka, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 September.
The exact questions to appear on the referendum are still unknown, but
they will be aimed at revising the constitution to enhance the
president's powers. Parliament is considering holding an alternative
referendum at the same time, asking the people if the post of president
of Belarus should be abolished altogether. There is some contradiction
in holding the by-elections and referendum simultaneously, since
Lukashenka's version of the constitution envisages a smaller, bicameral
legislature, in which there would be no room for any more elected
deputies. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN APPOINTMENTS. President Leonid Kuchma signed a decree on 5
September appointing Yurii Rusantsov as Coal Minister, Susana Stanyk as
Minister of Family and Youth Issues, and Andrii Svyrdyuk as Health
Minister, Ukrainian radio reported. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIANS SENTENCED IN BELARUS. Seven Ukrainians have been sentenced to
prison terms ranging from one to two and a half years in Belarus for
participating in the Chornobyl anniversary rally and causing public
disorder, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported on 6 September. The presiding
judge said the defendants' citizenship was not taken into account when
the court passed sentence, but the sentences are much harsher than those
received by any other defendants tried for their participation in the
rally. The usual sentence for those arrested was under two weeks, and
the two organizers who went on hunger strike, Vyacheslau Siuchyk and
Yurii Khadyka, received suspended sentences. The Ukrainian consul in
Minsk, Mikhail Moskalenko, said the trial was unfair and he would appeal
the verdict in the Belarusian Supreme Court. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC ASSEMBLY TO PROPOSE CONDITIONS FOR ENDING DEATH PENALTY.
Lithuanian deputy Algirdas Kuncinas said 4 September that the Baltic
Assembly's legal committee last week prepared a resolution on ending the
death penalty in the Baltic states for submission to the assembly's
October session in Riga, BNS reported. He said the resolution calls for
ending the penalty only after certain conditions have been fulfilled.
These include sharply decreasing the number of particularly heinous
crimes, changing public opinion, and constructing special prisons and
cells for persons whose death sentences would be changed to life
imprisonment. -- Saulius Girnius

TALLINN, ST. PETERSBURG SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Tallinn City Council
Chairman Koit Kaaristu and his St. Petersburg counterpart Yuri Kravtsov
on 5 September signed an agreement on promoting cooperation between the
two municipal councils, BNS reported. It provides for the exchange of
adopted regulations and programs for urban development, promoting
contacts between the municipal governments, law-enforcement authorities,
and nongovernmental organizations. The Tallinn City Council has also
signed a protocol of intent with its Moscow counterpart, but it is
unclear whether a cooperation accord can be signed before Estonia's
local elections on 20 October. -- Saulius Girnius

TORTURER FROM STALINIST TIMES IMPRISONED IN POLAND. Adam Humer, former
chief of the Investigation Department of the Stalinist political police
in Poland in the 1950s, sentenced in March for nine years imprisonment,
was finally sent to prison this week, Polish dailies reported on 6
September. Humer tortured political prisoners 40 years ago in the same
Mokotow prison where he will be confined. Humer is 80 years old and the
court acceded in March to the defense motion that Humer undergo medical
investigation before imprisonment. The doctors concluded recently that
he can stay in prison under constant medical supervision. -- Jakub
Karpinski

FOLLOW-UP ON POLISH GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Tensions in the ruling coalition,
provoked recently by governmental reform, were exacerbated by the
dismissal of Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz on 4 September (see
OMRI Daily Digest 5 September 1996). Buchacz, in the post since early
1995, represented the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the ruling coalition
junior partner. Polish dailies provided details on the "Buchacz empire,"
a conglomerate of private and state-owned institutions aimed at helping
Polish exports. The PSL said that "the PSL and Minister Jacek Buchacz
have repeatedly warned of a growing foreign trade deficit, which could
reach $10 billion this year." PSL representatives suggested that the
minister's dismissal came as a response to these warnings. The PSL has
threatened to leave the coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance,
which may lead to earlier elections than those scheduled for fall 1997.
-- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PRIME MINISTER IN JAPAN. On a three-day official visit to Japan,
Vaclav Klaus on 6 September met with Emperor Akihito, Czech and
international agencies reported. Klaus met the previous day with his
Japanese counterpart, Ryutaro Hashimoto, requesting more Japanese
investment in the Czech Republic. Hashimoto asked Klaus to improve
investment conditions, but Klaus rejected appeals to grant Japanese
companies tax breaks. Hashimoto and Klaus expressed support for U.S.
missile attacks on Iraq. Also on 5 September, Klaus and Foreign Minister
Yukihiko Ikeda and International Trade and Industry Minister Shumpei
Tsukahara discussed increasing bilateral trade. Klaus's Asian tour will
include visits to Malaysia and Singapore. -- Sharon Fisher

BAVARIAN PRIME MINISTER WARNS CZECHS. Edmund Stoiber told German Radio 5
September that the planned Czech-German declaration on reconciliation
will not be signed until Prague talks to Sudeten Germans expelled after
World War II, Reuters reported. The majority of the Sudeten Germans and
their descendants now live in Bavaria and are a key constituency of
Stoiber's Christian Social Union, a member of Germany's ruling
coalition. Stoiber said the signing before the end of the year "depends
on whether the text is acceptable for those who are seriously affected"
and "whether...there is readiness from anyone on the Czech side to have
talks with the Sudeten Germans." He added that "it must be possible for
the Czech side now to say, without any material claims arising, that the
expulsion [of the ethnic Germans] was wrong under international law." --
Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK COURT RULES CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF PRESIDENT'S SON VIOLATED.
The Senate of Slovakia's Constitutional Court on 4 September ruled that
the Foreign Ministry's inactivity earlier this year in the Michal Kovac
Jr. case constituted a violation of his right to free entrance to Slovak
territory, Narodna obroda reported two days later. The day after the
decision, Constitutional Court judge Jan Drgonec said that as a state
organ, the Foreign Ministry "should have fulfilled the state's
obligation to secure the protection of a citizen's constitutionally
guaranteed rights." The court was referring to Kovac Jr.'s request after
his kidnapping last year that the Foreign Ministry ask for his
extradition from Austria. Kovac Jr. on 5 September announced he will sue
the state for damages. -- Sharon Fisher

EUROPE'S LARGEST SYNAGOGUE REOPENS IN HUNGARY. Thousands of people,
including former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, attended a
ceremony 5 September celebrating the reopening of the world's second
largest synagogue after five years of renovation, Hungarian and
international media reported. The synagogue was built in 1850 and served
as a shelter for thousands of Jews during World War II. "The
reconstruction is a clear indication that the present Jewry of Hungary
is confident in the future, that it can again build a prosperous life,"
Peter Feldmajer, president of the Hungarian Jewish Communities, said
before the ceremony. So far the renovation has cost 1,250 million
forints ($8.3 million). The Hungarian government paid 80% and the rest
came from international donations. The reconstruction is due to be
finished by next autumn. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

THOUSANDS PROTEST HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN BASIC TREATY IN BUDAPEST. About
10,000 to 20,000 people demonstrated against the Hungarian-Romanian
basic treaty outside the Parliament building last night, Hungarian media
reported. Catholic Bishop Jozsef Tempfli of Oradea, Romania, and
Hungarian Calvinist Bishop Lorant Hegedus gave speeches saying the
treaty the two governments are about to sign will not help
reconciliation between the two nations. A speaker from the opposition
Smallholders' Party said the cabinet is committing "treason" by signing
the document. The demonstration was also supported by the far-right
extra-parliamentary Hungarian Justice and Life Party. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 173, Part I, 6 September 1996

This is Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part I is a compilation of news concerning Russia, Transcaucasia and
Central Asia. Part II, covering Central, Eastern, and Southeastern
Europe is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues
of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available
through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/Index.html

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FIRST BODY FOUND AT VUKOVAR HOSPITAL MASSACRE GRAVE. War-crimes
investigators uncovered the first body at the Ovcara mass grave in
eastern Slavonia, thought to contain the bodies of Croats executed in
the 1991 Serb-Croat war, international agencies reported on 5 September.
The exhumation is part of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia's investigation into events that occurred in the
Vukovar hospital and at Ovcara in November 1991. U.S. forensics expert
William Haglund said about 170 to 260 bodies were estimated to be in the
grave. The site was revealed by a former Vukovar hospital patient who
survived the massacre, and reportedly had not been disturbed since last
inspected in 1993. Three senior officers of the former Yugoslav national
army were indicted last November for war crimes for the Ovcara massacre,
but Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has refused to allow their
extradition to the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN ELECTION DEADLINE EXTENDED...The OSCE, which is supervising the
vote, said 5 September that absentee ballots from abroad can be sent in
until 14 September, when the elections will be held across Bosnia-
Herzegovina. The governing Muslim Party of Democrat Action (SDA) has
called for voting in Bosnia to be extended to 15 and 16 September as
well, Oslobodjenje reported on 6 September. The OSCE has reversed its
earlier decision and approved the candidacies of Zlatko Lagumdzija and
"several hundred" other people running on the slate of the opposition
anti-nationalist five-party coalition, the Joint List (ZL). -- Patrick
Moore

...AS CAMPAIGNING CONTINUES. The ZL has accused the SDA and its Croatian
counterpart, the Croatian Democratic Community, of having established a
de facto coalition, Oslobodjenje noted 6 September. The ZL also called
for the leading Serbian presidential candidate, Momcilo Krajisnik, to be
banned from the ballot because of his public statements that Bosnia does
not exist as a state. In the small part of suburban Sarajevo still under
Serbian control, several thousand people cheered at a rally in support
of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, news agencies reported 5
September. And in the Bosnian Serb capital of Pale, the leader of the
Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haris Silajdzic, appeared on a talk
show on Bosnian Serb TV, the most important Muslim to be invited to do
so since the war began. -- Patrick Moore

HOLBROOKE ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. mediator who
brokered the Bosnia peace accord, warned on 5 September that the same
political leaders who threw Bosnia into a civil war might win the
elections, international agencies reported. He singled out Bosnian Serb
acting President Biljana Plavsic, the head of the ruling Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS) Aleksa Buha, and Bosnian Serb parliamentary
speaker Momcilo Krajisnik as the greatest cause for concern that
"fascists and separatists might be elected future leaders in Bosnia,"
AFP quoted him as saying. Holbrooke called for another Dayton-type
conference after the elections to correct some of the mistakes made at
Dayton. He also said a reduced military presence should be maintained in
Bosnia after the NATO peace mission ends. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN UPDATE. The ongoing hunger strike of the Zastava arms plant
workers in Kragujevac seems to be taking a dramatic turn, Nasa Borba
reported 6 September, with the protest taking an exacting toll on
participants. The newspaper also reported on the fallout from the
resolution by the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) to stay out of the
opposition coalition "Zajedno" (together), which is challenging the
Socialists in November elections. Some party members found the decision
highly objectionable, the newspaper noted. Finally, on 3 September
Tanjug reported Col. Cedomir Gilanovic's impressions of the rump
Yugoslav military inspection team's 26-28 August tour of Croatian army
facilities. Gilanovic said the Croatian officers were very professional,
and added that a team from Belgrade was to begin a three-day inspection
of facilities of the Muslim-Croat federal army on 4 September. -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIAN ELECTION DATE SET. Slovenian President Milan Kucan announced 5
September that general elections will take place 10 November, STA
reported. He made the announcement after meeting with representatives of
most of the parties represented in parliament. "Although a consensus
with all political parties could not be reached, most favored this date
and believed balloting should take place as soon as possible," Kucan
said. The opposition United List of Social Democrats had lobbied to hold
off the polling date until the Constitutional Court could rule on
whether a referendum on electoral reform should be held before the
elections, Reuters reported. The last national elections were held in
1992, and under the terms of the constitution would have had to take
place no later than 8 December 1996. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE. The campaign for the presidential and
parliamentary elections of 3 November was officially launched on 4
September. The next day, President Ion Iliescu became the first
candidate to register with the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).
Meanwhile, no less than 51 contestations against Iliescu's candidacy
were registered with the BEC, the daily Libertatea reported. The
Association for the Defense of Human Rights-Helsinki Committee and the
League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADO) on 5 September officially
joined those claiming Iliescu's candidacy is unconstitutional because he
is running for a third term. The BEC must rule by 7 September. Its
decision can then be appealed to the Constitutional Court, which,
however, is known to be packed with pro-Iliescu supporters. LADO said it
might appeal against the court's ruling before the European Court for
Human Rights and before the OSCE commission overseeing electoral
processes. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES MEDIA LAW AGAIN. The parliament on 5
September overruled President Zhelyu Zhelev's veto of the electronic
media law, Reuters reported. The Socialist majority voted to adopt the
law without any changes. Zhelev had returned the law for further
discussion, saying parts of it violated the constitution by limiting
freedom of expression and speech. Klara Marinova, media specialist of
the Bulgarian Socialist Party and chair of the parliamentary media
commission, said Zhelev, by interfering in the parliament's work, "is
breaching the powers granted to him by the constitution." The opposition
Union of Democratic Forces announced it will turn to the Constitutional
Court to have the law declared unconstitutional. The ethnic-Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedom criticized the law for not permitting
broadcasts in minority languages and said it conflicts with the European
Framework Convention for the Defense of National Minorities. -- Stefan
Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Special anti-terrorist police found and defused two
makeshift bombs in Sofia's central railway station, Bulgarian and
Western media reported. Train traffic had to be stopped temporarily, and
the station building was evacuated. Two anonymous phone calls less than
one hour apart had warned of the bombs. It was unclear whether the calls
were linked with each other or not. In other news, 48 flight controllers
from the Sofia and Varna airports were dismissed on grounds of
participating in an illegal strike. Bulgaria's flight controllers went
on strike on 3 September, demanding higher wages, but the strike was
declared illegal by the Sofia Municipal Court. Prime Minister Zhan
Videnov and Transportation Minister Stamen Stamenov met to discuss the
situation, which might result in serious problems for the country's air
traffic. The Varna airport may be closed for lack of qualified
personnel. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO JOIN IFOR TROOPS IN ZADAR. The Albanian
parliament passed a law on 5 September allowing the Albanian army to
participate in peacekeeping missions abroad. A unit of 50 soldiers will
leave for Zadar, Croatia, on 9 September to serve with the German IFOR
contingent. State Secretary of Defense Leonard Demi said the new law
showed Albania was committed to the principles and objectives of NATO's
Partnership for Peace. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIANS STORM NEWLY OPENED GREEK CONSULATE. Several hundred Albanians
seeking visas clashed with police outside the newly opened Greek
consulate in Gjirokastra on 4 September. Police used tear gas to
disperse the crowd, but about 100 Albanians stormed the building and
caused damage to the office equipment, international agencies reported.
Earlier, the Greek consul had promised he would ease visa procedures for
Albanians and issued 500 visas in the early morning before the unrest
started. Afterward he said, "We will never make such a mistake again."
The consul had made his promise following the visit of the Greek Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos to Albania last week. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Janet Hofmann

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Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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