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  • News and Notes

Conference on Democracy Held in Zagreb

On February 11–12, the Erasmus Guild (Croatia) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (U.S.) convened a conference in Zagreb on “Strengthening Democracy.” The conference brought together 20 representatives of Western organizations working in the former Yugoslavia and 50 civic activists (including journalists, trade unionists, human rights activists, and independent researchers) from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including Kosovo and Vojvodina), Slovenia, Albania, and Hungary. Among the topics discussed were a free press, the role of civic organizations, and cultural and publishing activities.

The two-day conference met three important goals. First, it facilitated communication among representatives of civic organizations from the region, enabling them to better understand their common problems and to exchange information on their numerous initiatives. Second, it allowed indigenous groups and Western organizations to exchange ideas about how to build civil society and strengthen the independent sector in the region. Third, it fostered interaction among Western organizations working in the region, generating ideas for joint assistance programs and reducing the likelihood of programmatic and funding overlap.

It was generally agreed that the NGO community in the former Yugoslavia, with assistance from Western organizations, should redouble its efforts to promote democratic values, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.

Post-Soviet State and Regional Leaders Meet

On January 13–15, central-government officials from several former Soviet republics, leaders of breakaway regions, and negotiation experts from around the world met at the Peace Palace in The Hague to [End Page 187] discuss effective, nonviolent conflict resolution in the former USSR. The Hague Roundtable was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and sponsored by the Conflict Management Group (CMG) of Cambridge, Mass., and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) of Washington, D.C.

The meeting focused on ways to avoid situations like that in evidence in Chechnya. Particular attention was given to the case of Tatarstan as a model of regional conflict resolution. Participants identified three elements as key to the Tatarstan Treaty’s success: the early agreement on the part of the central government to some devolution of power, the decision to focus on practical questions in preliminary treaty negotiations, and the negotiators’ appreciation of the need for stability and time to reach a final settlement.

Meeting participants reached a preliminary agreement to found an Association for Regional Peace in the Post-Soviet States that will serve as a consultative body for the region. A meeting of negotiation- team members is scheduled for early summer, and a second meeting of top leaders is planned for the fall.

Participants included President Mintimer Shaimiev of the Republic of Tatarstan; President Vladislav Ardzinba of the Republic of Abkhazia; President Igor Smirnov of the self-proclaimed Trans-Dneister Republic; President Stepan Topal of the Gagauz Autonomous Republic of Moldova; Sergei Tsekov, speaker of the Crimean Parliament; Vyacheslav Mikhailov, the Russian Federation’s deputy minister for nationalities and head of the negotiation team in Chechnya; Emil Payin, President Yeltsin’s nationalities advisor; and officials from the central governments of Georgia and Ukraine. Among the negotiation experts present were Dr. Bruce Allyn of CMG, Dr. Daniel Matuszewski of IREX, Professors Hurst Hannum, Philip Hanson, and Donald Horowitz, and two CSCE negotiators.

Additional information on the meeting can be obtained from the Conflict Management Group, 20 University Road, Cambridge, MA 02138; phone, 617–354–5444; fax, 617–354–8467.

Political Parties in Modern Democracies Examined

On 15–17 December 1994, the Instituto Juan March de Estudios e Investigaciones hosted a symposium on “Political Parties: Changing Roles in Contemporary Democracies” at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias Sociales in Madrid. At the meeting, 41 scholars from 11 countries examined three aspects of political parties in modern democracies: the internal characteristics and dynamics of parties, the nature of party elites, and citizens’ perceptions of parties. The conference was organized by Juan Linz and José Ramón Montero. Participants presenting papers [End Page 188] included Stefano Bartolini, Klaus von Beyme, Jean Blondel, Patricia Craig, Richard Gunther, Piero Ignazi, Richard Katz, Kay Lawson, Peter Mair, José Ramón Montero, Leonardo Morlino, Hermann Schmitt, Serenella Sferza, Mariano Torcal, Jacques Thomassen, and...

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 187-190
Launched on MUSE
1995-04-01
Open Access
No
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