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A NATO soldier from Greece, center rear, watches as two Macedonian police talk, during their first patrol in the mostly ethnic Albanian-populated village of Glodje, 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of the capital Skopje, on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001. Ethnically mixed patrols, comprising Macedonian and ethnic Albanian officers moved Thursday into the communities where ethnic Albanian insurgency raged earlier this year. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)


Ethnic Albanian villagers talk with police officers in the village of Vistica, Macedonia December 13, 2001. The police patrols were part of the first ethnically mixed units to move into tense areas formerly held by ethnic Albanian rebels. (Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters)


Macedonian police officers walk on the outskirts of the village of Ljubodrag, some 50 km north of the Macedonian capital, December 13, 2001. Macedonia's peace process took an uncertain step forward on Thursday when police flanked by Western monitors re-entered some rebel villages but retreated from others after militants blocked the roads. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski


Bourgas District Governor Stephan Koradov visited yesterday the American pilots accommodated in the air-base in Sarafovo. After the two-hour meeting Koradov said that his visit was informal and in line with the pending Christmas charity cocktail thrown by the Rotary Club. The Americans maintained that they were extremely pleased with the conditions in the air-base and the hospitality, he said further. Photo BTA (ML)


Yugoslav crown prince Alaksandar Karadjordjevic crosses himself during a liturgy in the family chapel in Belgrade, while celebrating his family's patron's day December 13, 2001. Karadjordjevic's family celebrated Orthodox St. Andrew's Day at their home in Belgrade for the first time in 60 years. REUTERS/Marko Djurica




The Media Activity Center reports that the Macedonian police started Thursday with a realization of the Plan for re-deployment of the security forces in 15 villages in four regions of Macedonia.

The report says that ethnically mixed police patrols carried out their duties without problems in the villages of Ljuboten and Orlanci near Skopje; the villages of Ropajce, Vistica and Nikustak near Kumanovo; the villages of Cajle, Balin Dol and Raven near Gostivar and the villages of Glogi and Otususte near Tetovo.

Due to snow blanket, entering in the villages of Merovo and Cerovo is postponed, while the local population of Dobroste set a blockade, preventing entrance of police units in the village.

Expectations are that the problems will be resolved in cooperation with the OSCE and EU monitoring missions, and NATO mission "Amber Fox", as well as with the local population, enabling further realization of the Plan for re-deployment of the police.

Estimations are that solid preparations of the Governmental Coordinate Body in cooperation with OSCE, EU and NATO missions nave contributed to successful realization of today's activities, despite the expected obstacles. This is a step forward in realizing of the peace plan of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, aimed at establishing control in the whole country, restoring of peace and security, and creating conditions for safe return of the displaced persons to their homes.

Upholding of the re-deployment process by individuals will be considered as an attempt for blocking of the peace process.

Implementing of the plan will continue tomorrow.

Ethnic mixed police teams have entered Thursday into the villages of Cajle, Balin Dol and Raven near Gostivar and Ljuboten and Orlance villages, near Skopje. The police wearing their usual uniforms and carrying only their personal armament will patrol until 13.00h.


The local residents from Dobroste village did not allow to the Macedonian police to enter explaining that they are celebrating the Ramadan holidays. Dobroste is on the road leading to Odri and Neraste villages, so the police cannot enter these two villages as well.

Macedonian security forces around 13.00h on Thursday have entered into Nikustak, Vistica and Ropaljce villages in Lipkovo region.

The mixed police patrols accompanied by the monitors from OSCE have started the three-hour patrol in Nikustak, and in Vistica and Ropalce villages.

The entrance of the police forces in Nikustak was welcomed by head of Kumanovo police department Dragi Nestorovski, Mayor of Lipkovo Husamedin Halili and the representatives from OSCE mission.

According to them the entrance of the police has been significant success not only for realization of the plan for redeployment of the Macedonian security forces in the crisis regions, but also for improving the safety and normalizing the life in Lipkovo villages.

Prior to the entrance of the first police patrols in three Lipkovo villages, talks were held among the representatives of the Interior Ministry, OSCE, NATO and the representatives of the three local communities. They agreed the technique and the other details for safe and unrestricted redeployment of the Macedonian security forces according to the plan and the dynamic of the governmental Coordinate Crisis Management Body.

After entering of Macedonian police forces in the villages of Glogi and Otusiste, NATO spokesman Craig Ratcliff expressed hope that despite the difficulties in some villages, the plan for re-deployment of the police forces would be completed successfully.

Spokesperson of the European Union Claris Pasztory was slightly disappointed, as the police could not enter in some villages in the region of Tetovo.

"I would have been happy if the Macedonian police could only pass through the villages of Dobroste, Neraste and Odri, but I know that local citizens do not allow it. The EU will have to find the reasons for that, and I hope that gradual returning of the police forces in villages, including those that were inaccessible today, will continue tomorrow," Pasztory said.

However, she considers that entering of police in two villages was a promising start.

According to last information by Zoran Tanevski, spokesman of the Governmental Coordinate Body, police patrols could not enter in the village of Dobroste because of blockades, set by the local population. Entering in the villages of Cerevo and Nerevo was canceled due to snow blanket.

Patrolling in the villages of Ljuboten, Orlanci, Cajle, Balin Dol, Raven Ropajce and Vistice has been carried out without any problems.

Macedonian Police Move Into Towns.


By MISHA SAVIC, Associated Press Writer

GLODJE, Macedonia (AP) - With villagers eyeing them coldly, Macedonian police moved into ethnic Albanian communities Thursday as part of an effort to re-establish control in the country gripped by fighting earlier this year.

The symbolic return of lightly armed police officers to the volatile northwest is included in a Western-brokered peace deal that ended a six-month insurgency by ethnic Albanian rebels against government forces.

NATO and European Union officials accompanied the police officers to 10 ethnic Albanian villages before the group met resistance.

``We are not going to let the police into our village,'' said Belush Ismaili, 70, in Dobroste, where locals blocked the road, preventing the patrols from continuing to five remaining villages.

Officials in the village said they would allow police in only after the government fulfilled all promises in the peace accord, dismantled police checkpoints and pledged amnesty for ex-rebels.

Even in the villages they managed to enter, the patrols of three ethnic Albanians and three Macedonian officers were coldly received.

``This is not going to end well,'' Xheladin, an ethnic Albanian farmer, said as a convoy of vehicles with officers and Western officials entered his dusty village.

Xheladin, 30, who declined to give his last name, said his community felt ``threatened'' by the officers.

The peace agreement, signed in August, granted the ethnic Albanian minority more rights in exchange for peace. Ethnic Albanians make up nearly a third of Macedonia's 2 million population.

The rebels have surrendered 4,000 weapons, but still control some 10 percent of the country as the government has yet to keep its side of the bargain and enact broader rights for the minority.

Later Thursday, an ethnic Albanian died and another was wounded in a shootout with police not involved in the deployment in the villages. Police said the ethnic Albanians fired first in the gunfight on the boundary of the contested areas.

NATO spokesman Craig Ratcliff said the Thursday deployment was ``overall going very well.''

An earlier pilot project of bringing back Macedonian police to five ethnic Albanian villages was deemed a success.

Macedonia Police Say Albanian Attacker Shot Dead.


TETOVO, Macedonia (Reuters) - An ethnic Albanian man was shot dead on Thursday after he opened fire on Macedonian security forces manning a checkpoint near the mainly ethnic Albanian town of Tetovo, police sources said.

The incident did not appear to be connected with the resumption the same day of limited police patrols in a string of former guerrilla villages as part of efforts to implement a peace accord signed with minority Albanians in August.

Police sources told Reuters the police checkpoint on a road between the villages of Trebos and Ratae, an tense northwestern area of indistinct ethnic boundaries, had come under fire from what was variously described as a tractor or car.

Rahim Thaci, director of Tetovo Hospital, said it had received the body of a man who died while being transported there after being shot.

Spokesmen for the NATO and OSCE peace missions in Macedonia said their monitors had no independent information about the reported killing but were looking into it.

Some monitors were concerned the violence could disrupt the peace process. ``The timing is quite bad,'' one told Reuters.

If confirmed, it would be the first ethnic Albanian death in a clash since the guerrilla National Liberation Army (NLA) disbanded under NATO supervision after the peace agreement.

Three security police commandos were killed in an ethnic Albanian ambush near Trebos a month ago after their unit swept over truce lines to grab an alleged mass grave site without coordinating the move with Western intermediaries.

The police sources said the ethnic Albanian killed on Thursday came from Trebos.




The Macedonian Finance Minister Nikola Gruevski and Leo Kreuz from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and development signed Thursday protocol for financial and technical cooperation between the Macedonian and German Governments.

With the signing of this Protocol, the German Government grants DM 58 million to Macedonia in order to realize new projects on financial and technical cooperation. Within this cooperation, projects on social infrastructure, road infrastructure, water supply and disposal of solid waste and water, projects from the environmental sphere as well as projects on supporting the private business and small and medium private enterprises.

So far all agreed projects have been realized especially in the field of technical cooperation so the German Government has granted additional DM 5 million. Starting from 1993 the German Government has granted DM 250 million to Macedonia. German and Macedonian delegation, led by Leo Kreuz from the German Ministry for economic cooperation and adviser at the Macedonian Government Tahir Shakiri, negotiated on December 11-12 on financial and technical cooperation between the two countries, the German Embassy to Macedonia said in a press release.

The negotiations were carried out this year thanking to adopting of the constitutional changes by the Macedonian Parliament. Germany, from its federal budget for developing and political cooperation with Macedonia in 2001, grants new financial assistance of DM 58 million (about Euro 30 million) to the country. An amount of DM 53 million is aimed for financial cooperation, including another DM 100 million as bilateral contribution within the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.

An amount of DM 5 million is aimed for technical cooperation. The granted means will be used for projects on management of water resources, upgrading of the democratic civil society and introducing of market economy. Kreuz underlined that Germany, despite cutting of its budget expenditures, once again granted significant assistance to Macedonia. Germany is ready to support the Macedonian Government on its road to approach the European Union and realization of the reforms, the press release reads.



Speaker of the Macedonian Parliament Stojan Andov met Thursday in Brussels with the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security policy, Javier Solana. The meeting was focused on implementing of the Macedonia-EU Cooperation Agreement of 1998; the Interim Agreement for Economic Cooperation and the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). The officials agreed that faster ratification of SAA would accelerate the surpassing of the crisis in Macedonia. In that respect, Andov asked for EU support in accelerating of the SAA ratification by the parliaments of the EU member countries. The officials also estimated that firs information on restoring of order by re-deployment of the Macedonian security forces in the crisis regions were encouraging. They expressed hope that the process would be carried out successfully and would create conditions for restoring peace and security in Macedonia, as well as for returning of the displaced persons to their homes. Tomorrow, Andov is scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General George Robertson. He will also visit the Belgian Parliament and meet with speaker of Belgian Senate Arman de Deiker and Herman De Croo, President of the Belgian House of Representatives.

Captain Simeonov - Nominee for Policeman of the Year.


Milena Orozova
Elitsa Ivanova

Captain Simeon Simeonov, who had busted the dangerous sniper in Kosovo, will be nominated for the policeman of the year. Chief of the National Police Service, Gen. Vassil Vassilev, invited the Captain for a meeting today. "I will ask Gen. Vassilev to let me return to my work in the BG police. The chances that I go back to Mitrovica are very slim", told "Standart" Captain Simeonov. In the office of Interior Minister, Prof. Petkanov they received a proposal to award the Captain for his professionalism. It is not known yet what will be the award and when it will be given. Captain Simeonov studied in the Higher Military School in Veliko Tarnovo and then graduated from the Police Academy. In 1993 he started working in the criminal division to the Regional Police Department in the town of Doupnitsa. In 1999 he applied for a position in Kosovo.

Parvanov: I Will Nominate Stanishev for BSP Leader.


Nadelina Aneva

'I will propose in person at the BSP congress on Saturday the nomination of Sergei Stanishev as my successor,' party leader Georgi Parvanov said yesterday. To him,Stanishev is in more advantageous position as compared with the other major pretender for the post - Roumen Ovcharov, since he belongs to the younger generation and has proved his potential at international level. This is of great importance in connection with the forthcoming BSP membership in the Socialist International, Parvanov stressed. Yet, he didn't manage to install in position his favourite during yesterday's plenum of the party. The Forum ended with no decision on joint nominee for a successor of the leader's post of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. 'Roumen Ovcharov and Georgi Bozhinov were flat that Stanishev was lacking experience to head the centenarian party,' socialists commented.


Government Pressed Firms for Christmas Bonuses.


The ventures are urgently paying the insurances and dividends.

Elena Yaneva
Stephan Kioutchukov

Few days before the Christmas holidays the cabinet started strenuously searching for money to pay Christmas pensions. The government decided to allot 20 levs per pensioner for Xmas. If enough revenues flow into the fisc till December 20, the government may allot Christmas bonuses to state employees as well. Vice-PM Nikolai Vassilev in person took to ensuring more revenues to the fisc during the recent month. He formed a working party to provide additional revenues to the budget. The state-run enterprises turned out to be the cash cow of the cabinet. They are forced to pay the National Insurance Institute the due contributions and to deposit their dividends in advance within a week.


Police Posse against Narcomafia at the Black Sea.


Bourgas Searched for gang chieftains. Two suspects for assaults and murders are declared on national retrieval.

Elena Dimitrova

Bourgas police officers started a raid on the narcomafia along the Black Sea coast. Large-scale operations to search for the most dangerous criminals and chieftains of mafia groups are already underway. The latter are involved in the trafficking in drugs and bomb assaults during the current year. A week ago head of the Regional Directorate of Interior - Bourgas Col. Krassimir Petrov said that arrests of people from the underworld were in store. Presently, police officers are searching for two of the most dangerous bandits: 25-year-old Novak Koupenov and 19-year-old Stoyan Penev. The two are incriminated in grave crimes and are in hiding, employees from the RDI-Bourgas said.


16-Year-Old BG Cybergames Contester Arrives Today.


Georgi spent the night alone at the airport in Seoul. The Foreign Ministry, Bulgaria's ambassador to Seoul and the team's head shift the responsibility to each other.

Milena Orozova

Sixteen-year-old Georgi Simeonov had spent a night at the airport in Seoul, said yesterday for 'Daric' radio Valeri Argentinski - interim head of the mission in Korea. The child and other 14 Bulgarians participated in the World Cybergames Championship in Seoul. To Argentinski, Tatyana Koleva - head of the team, is to be blame for the blunder. 'You can't leave a minor child alone and then take off. The boy phoned us to take him as early as in the next morning,' he added. 'The only support the ambassador in Seoul rendered us was, that he didn't hang up the phone,' Koleva said for 'Standart'. According to her, the ambassador denied to accommodate Georgi in the mission, due to lack of suitable conditions. Georgi Simeonov, having been left alone after his team-mates departure, was immediately taken from the airport and ensconced in the embassy, said sources from the Foreign Ministry. Today he arrives home.


Simeon: Bulgaria Wants EU Membership in 2004.


Bulgaria wants to become an EU member in 2004. Under this title the influential German daily "Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung" published an interview with Bulgarian Premier, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The occasion was the first official visit of the PM to Germany that starts today.

"It depends on us solely whether we shall be prepared on time, so we mustn't say in advance that Bulgaria won't manage". This was the response of PM Saxe-Coburg to the statement of spokesman to the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Guenter Verheugen, who told that it was "highly unlikely" for Bulgaria and Romania to complete the accession negotiations already the next year. According to the Premier, the government has set the goal to ensure Bulgaria's admission as promptly as possible and it is working hard to attain it. The EU membership is the top priority for Sofia, he pointed out, and qualified as "extremely interesting and important to us" the proposal of Hubert Vedrine, Foreign Minister of France, to admit all 12 aspiring countries in a package. The Premier fears that long time may elapse between the first and the second "wave" of accession. He is positive that at the NATO summit next November Bulgaria will be invited to become a member of the Alliance. "After the crisis in Kosovo and the events on September 11 Bulgaria will do its best, I stress once more, the best it can, that may be expected of a serious partner". Simeon Saxe-Coburg doesn't anticipate difficulties in his joint work with the future president, a Socialist Georgi Parvanov. Bulgaria is not the first country where different political forces take part in running the state and cooperate successfully, the PM thinks. He doesn't take the election loss of the hitherto president Petar Stoyanov as his personal failure. The NMS consciously gave up the idea of nominating its own candidate, guided by its desire to break up with some of the "Balkan modes", Saxe-Coburg explained. Asked if the government he is heading will fulfill the pledge to raise the living standard of the Bulgarians within 800 days, Simeon Saxe-Coburg replied that he is enough steadfast and organized person to promise something without thinking it over first. By way of example he mentioned the economy where to overcome the difficulties you should stick to the following order - the first year you make an inventory, the second, take control over the damages done, and during the third "the shareholders have to receive their dividends". This makes exactly 800 days". In the opinion of the Premier, the program of his cabinet does not differ much from that of the previous government. The difference lies in their approach. He thinks that transparency in decision-making and uncompromising fight against corruption should come first. Besides, he doesn't see himself as a politician launched into the orbit by some party and has no intention to be engaged in politics forever.

Rabrovo Shivers with Fear from a Band of Thieves.


After a robbery the villagers locked up themselves at home.

Parvoleta Tzvetkova

Two armed men with camouflage suits broke in the post office in the village of Rabrovo in broad daylight. The bandits took the money for pensions. The sum was just delivered by a post car. The money planned to be given that day was 9,000 levs. Not a single lev remained after the robbery. One of the men fired his gun in the shelf to intimidate the two women. There were cashier Rumyana Boykova and chief of the post office Galya Nistorova. The chief was hit with a feast in the face and the cashier - on the head. The unconscious woman was brought to the hospital in Kula. The robbery took place before the eyes of 40 people in the queue. At the shot several women fell on the ground out of fear, others fell in the jam that followed. We have seen such a robbery only on the screen, mayor of Rabrovo Vencho Cherchelanov says. This is the first armed robbery. Till now several animals disappeared, thieves robbed uninhabited houses, but that was all, he adds. This is not the whole sum for pensions. Actually it's about 50,000-60,000 levs. But every day the sums fixed for the day are delivered by car from Vidin. People are afraid to go out in the streets, mayor says. Despite the cold weather during the previous days the village was busy before noon. Now there's nobody. 700 people live in the village.


US Commandos Attack a Ship with Bulgarians on Board.


Fighters from the 'Seals' task forces attacked near the Pakistan shore a freighter, in the crew of which there were Bulgarian officers, AP announced. The ship, which was registered in Panama, was rented by Singapore company and traveled from Karachi to Bombay. According to AP the captain of the ship was Russian and most of the officers were Bulgarians.

MRF Uncorked Champaign on Entering ELDP.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Tchakarov

European Liberals are lobbying for Bulgaria.

Elena Yaneva

- Mr Tchakarov, what were the arguments that tipped the balance in favour of the MRF admission to the European Liberal Democratic Party?

- Our party was monitored for more than 4 years by its European partners before being admitted to the ELDP by an absolute majority. This act is, in the first place, a serious recognition for the policy that the MRF carried out during the recent years. Our admission, however, is very important as well for Bulgaria's integration to EU and NATO. Our European partners declared as early as on December 7, that they are to actively lobby for Bulgaria's accession to the EU as early as with the "first wave" of the countries from Southeastern Europe.

- Years ago the MRF was referred to as a predominantly ethnic party. Did the sitting in Brussels discuss this issue?

- The MRF was admitted by an absolute majority and without any additional questions. Our partners praise highly the role of the MRF in building up the ethnic model of peaceful co-existence of diverse ethnoses and religions in Bulgaria. They also pointed out Ahmed Dogan's personal contribution and the reasonable policy carried out by him in the period of transition.

- In what a way do your partners view your coalition with the NMS and your involvement in the ruling of this country.

- The Liberal parties, by their nature, are occupying the centre of the political space. In Europe they are ruling in coalitions both with the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. In this sense, our partners are without reserve concerning our participation in the power.

- How did your party men take the news?

- Immediately after the sitting of the ELDP was over, I called our Parliamentary Group and the deputies at once uncorked bottles of champaign.



Some MPs Seek Gain Only.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Ognyan Gerdjikov

If they don't re-apprise their behavior, I will take measures, says firmly chairman of parliament Ognyan Gerdjikov.

Nadelina Aneva

- Mr. Gerdjikov, you declared before the parliamentary group of the NMS that you will resign if the plenary hall remains empty. Is it a sign of despair or disappointment with the deputies?

- For sure it can't be despair. It's a sign of attention. The discipline of the MPs leaves much to be desired. This is a reproach addressed to the whole group. The major part of them are working hard and show real self-denial. However, I must regretfully admit that there is another category, too. People who decided that it is sufficient to be elected. And from that moment on they can only enjoy the benefits of their position and dodge their duties. This made me take the resolute stand. Hopefully this will shake them up.

- Can you name those who seek gain only?

- They are not many. But the group image has already become clear. They have to give a serious thought to their behavior. And I hope they will.

- Are there any sanctions for the MPs who are absent without any reason?

- They deduct 2/3 from their daily salary. The monthly payment of an MP is 800 levs. These sanctions are applied to all absentees. Even if some complain that the deductions are unlawful, because at the same time they were busy meeting foreign delegations or had important appointments.

- Do you think it will help if larger sums are deduced?

- Two-thirds of a salary is not so little. If an MP doesnt show up in the plenary hall a whole month, his remuneration will amount to a welfare payment. I haven't given a thought to it as yet.

- Will there be any extraordinary sittings before the New Year?

- Yes, if need be we'll work on weekends or even on December 31.



Photo sourche:

PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Meets with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.


Berlin, December 13 (BTA exclusive by National Television correspondent Svetla Tanova) - Economic cooperation between Bulgaria and Germany was the focus of talks between Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha arrived on his first official visit here at Schroeder's invitation on Thursday.

The Bulgarian-German Economic Commission will meet early next year to discuss the specific parameters of cooperation, it emerged after the meeting.

Schroeder said economic contacts could concentrate in three areas: modernization of the energy sector, in which RWE and Ruhrgas show interest; telecommunications, in which Deutsche Telekom is a possible partner for cooperation; and environmental protection and alternative energy sources, where Schroeder sees potential for closer cooperation. Germany supports all Bulgarian projects under the Stability Pact, which are mainly in transport and municipal policy.

Politically and economically, Germany supports Bulgaria's progress to Europe, Schroeder said after the meeting. Asked if Bulgaria will be ready to participate in the European Parliament elections in 2004, he said there was no need to debate specific accession dates. "A principled political decision has been made, and now a greater effort is needed to advance the reform process in Bulgaria: this is where we want to help because dates depend on the progress of reforms and not vice versa," Schroeder said.

The visit began with a meeting with Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Bulgaria is faced with great challenges, Wowereit said. According to him, the personality of the Bulgarian Prime Minister forms the focus of high expectations for successful reforms and progress. The Mayor pledged that the Berlin authorities will support the transformations underway in Bulgaria.

Wowereit expressed hope for a successful outcome of the negotiations on Bulgaria's future EU membership, and that the date of accession will not be too distant in time.

The relations between the two capitals featured on the agenda of the talk, which was also attended by Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski. Wowereit underscored the importance of Sofia-Berlin ties in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, water supply, and electrical engineering.

The visiting delegation comprises Environment and Waters Minister Dolores Arsenova, Deputy Economy Minister Lyubka Kachakova, and Simeon II National Movement Floor Leader Plamen Panayotov.

The keynote event during the visit will be a meeting between Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The two are expected to discuss bilateral relations, including economic contacts, the eastward enlargement of the European Union, and the situation in the Balkans.

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is also scheduled to meet with Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse and German MPs.

On Thursday evening the visiting Prime Minister will give a talk on the prospects for bilateral economic cooperation at the German Economy Centre in Berlin. Meetings are also scheduled with members of the German business community.


Where the Shadows Lie.

Balkan Express

9/11 Didn't Change Imperial Policy in the Balkans

"One Land to rule them all, One Land to grind them, One Land to bring them all, and in Democracy bind them in the land of Balkans, where the Shadows lie."

(with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien)

December 13, 2001

In the aftermath of September 11, many commentators said that nothing would ever be the same. They were obviously not thinking about the Balkans though many desperate denizens of the Peninsula hoped otherwise for a while or the Empire's continuing efforts in that particular corner of the globe. But while the Empire's assault on Afghanistan can be watched on Fox News and CNN, its persistent malfeasance in the Balkans happens almost entirely in the shadows.


In Belgrade, the long-standing animosity between the power-hungry opportunists loyal to Zoran Djindjic and the confused conservatives who support Vojislav Kostunica is bubbling up again. The newest confrontation seems tame in comparison to past showdowns, but even something as prosaic as a voting dispute could be the last straw.

Last week, Djindjic's party (DS) sponsored a Labor Bill in the Serbian parliament and saw it just barely pass. Soon, however, parliament chairman Dragan Marsicanin (from Kostunica's DSS) claimed that one MP voted though he was officially out of the country. Djindjic then called for the chairman's resignation. The following day, Marsicanin indeed resigned, claiming Djindjic was trying to seize absolute power. He was quickly replaced by Natasa Micic, member of a small party loyal to Djindjic. Kostunica demanded the return of Marsicanin, or at the very least that the post be filled with another representative of his party, thus honoring the power-sharing agreement inside the DOS alliance.

Enthusiasts of political correctness cheered the fact that Ms. Micic was the first woman chair of the Serbian Parliament. The DOS Politburo postponed the decision on Kostunica's demands until after the visit of French President Chirac, who was delivering the latest Imperial instructions. Then they gave full support to Djindjic and Micic.


Djindjic has thus seized complete control of DOS, and is just a step away from stripping the DSS MPs of their seats (arguing that they really belonged to DOS i.e. him). He has also succeeded in replacing the Parliament chair with someone loyal to him someone who would become the provisional President of Serbia if the current President is, say, "extradited" to the Hague Inquisition. With Chief Inquisitor DelPonte braying for more heads every day, this is just what Djindjic might have in mind. It would also ensure that the President does not call a new election something Djindjic fears most of all, as he is not strong enough to win a popular vote. He is much more comfortable as absolute ruler of the state apparatus, completed two weeks ago with a purge in the elite police forces.

Every time he violates the rules and gets away with it be it the Constitution, laws of the land, coalition agreements or parliamentary procedure Djindjic's power grows. So does misery among the people of Serbia, for whom "democracy" has come to mean abuse of power, high taxes and government lies. On his side, Djindjic has the Empire, the state apparatus, and the media. Yet if this winter, marked so far with freezing temperatures and an abundance of snow, turns into the winter of discontent, Djindjic's glorious summer might never come to pass.


On the contrary, Serbia might end up somewhat like its southern neighbor, Macedonia: semi-occupied, semi-independent, and semi-viable. Already gravely injured by the treacherous groveling of its rulers before the imposed Treaty of Ohrid, Macedonia is about to face a new set of humiliations.

Last week's debate on the Devolution Bill, proposed by the Albanians as part of the Ohrid settlement, ended with many Albanian MPs boycotting the legislative session. Apparently, the bill was written in such a fashion that would enable virtual secession of Albanian "self-government" areas, and Macedonian MPs made amendments to that extent. As Albanians boycotted the debate, the EU threatened to withhold aid unless the law was passed right away (as is, perhaps?). President Trajkovski tried to deflect the threat by inviting "experts" from the World Bank, Council of Europe and US Agency for International Development (USAID) to redraft the bill, in effect surrendering Macedonian legislative powers to foreigners.

Then again, those same foreigners are chiefly responsible for the Treaty of Ohrid. The peace it brought is best illustrated by Saturday's destruction of an Orthodox monastery by the officially nonexistent Albanian bandits. It is worth mentioning that Skopje has also agreed to allow the IMF to monitor its budget in the first half of 2002. Lacking recognition, control over territory, fiscal independence, legislative powers and even defense, what sort of government what sort of country is Macedonia anymore?

Recent sanctions against the amorphous Albanian National Army and the proposed ICG initiative to recognize Macedonia's name, are nothing but empty gestures intended to placate the Macedonian people, cheated of their birthright by their own leaders, Albanian bandits and the Empire.


If the Empire cared so much about threats to peace and potential terrorists, why did it allow three blacklisted Kosovo Albanian leaders to become MPs in the new Kosovo Assembly? Emrush Xhemaili, Gafurr Elshani and Sabit Gashi were all blacklisted in June by the Executive Order of Bush the Younger, for their role in Macedonia and as potential threats to US troops.


This is further borne out by the news that the US "diplomatic office" in Pristina (led by a full Ambassador!) attempted to broker an alliance between the three major Albanian parties. Former KLA warlord Hashim Taqi felt he was not offered enough, so his delegation walked out of the meeting and out of the Assembly session on Monday. Knowing the Empire needs the Albanians united, Taqi throws tantrums in order to get what he wants: more scraps from the table. He is not the first pawn of the Empire to do so, nor will he be the last. The US troops occupying Kosovo are apparently not alarmed. After all, they've just been visited by Mariah Carey, who cavorted with residents of Camp Bondsteel in a zip-down, bra-revealing jumpsuit, and even sang a bit.


The Empire is hard at work in the west of the beleaguered peninsula as well. Just last week, the collection of artifacts from Croatia's most notorious death camp, Jasenovac, was "returned" to the Croatian government by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The museum, established by the Clinton regime and funded entirely by taxpayer funds, took the artifacts from the Bosnian Serbs last year. Then-PM Milorad Dodik, faithfully obedient to the Empire, either did not know or did not care that the Museum already had a contract with the Croatian government to deliver the artifacts. Almost immediately, the Croats started spinning their own version of Jasenovac horrors, alleging as their late dictator Franjo Tudjman claimed that few Serbs died in Jasenovac, mostly of disease and not murder.

Despite reports by Nazis themselves attesting to Jasenovac's brutality compared to their own death factories, the recent publicity blitz has all but erased the fact that Jasenovac remains a symbol of a brutal genocide, perpetrated by the Nazi Croatia against the Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Not only is the number of dead at issue, but the very essence of the claim that the "Independent State of Croatia" was both a willing Nazi ally and an independent perpetrator of genocide against a specific ethnic group. Yet the fittingness of modern Croatia to safeguard the evidence of its Nazi past is perhaps best assessed by Canadian soldiers who witnessed Croat crimes in the 1991-95 war, and its own rulers who plotted the new "final solution."


As it works to minimize a genocide that was, the Empire also strives to play up the one that wasn't. The Washington-based Holocaust Museum's bookstore prominently features literature about the "genocide" in Bosnia, during the 1992-95 war. The most recent indictment of the Hague Inquisition accused Slobodan Milosevic of masterminding a "joint criminal enterprise" to commit genocide against the non-Serbs in Bosnia.

Enthusiastic Serbophobes actually dubbed it the "mother of all indictments," perhaps rightfully so: it contains every single category of crime in the Inquisition's book. If Milosevic is convicted and he has to be, for his acquittal would destroy the very purpose and essence of the Inquisition then the Bosnian war will be criminalized and branded as genocidal Serbian aggression. Whoever believes this would not have dire consequences for Serbia, the Bosnian Serbs and the future of Bosnia in general is at best sadly mistaken, at worst an idiot.


The story of "genocide" in Bosnia is so out of sync with reality that it needs to be reaffirmed by bits of propagandistic pap from Hollywood. It also plays right into the hands of former Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic and his henchmen. While in power, they gave Osama bin Laden's organization men, refuge and money-laundering opportunities, and the Empire knows it all too well.

Izetbegovic has plenty of his own victims buried in the hillside somewhere, which is perhaps why the records of Bosnia's wartime presidency (a committee Izetbegovic used to fake legitimacy) have recently been reported missing. Unconfirmed reports also have Izetbegovic permanently staying in Dubai, where he went last week to receive a "Muslim of the Year" award.


Having used the Yugoslav conflagration of the 1990s to further its agenda of power, the Empire now has different targets in its sights. Nonetheless, the self-appointed heirs of Rome, continue to manipulate and meddle in Balkans affairs. Both its Eye and its Hand are ceaselessly at work twisting, forcing, lying and bribing its way across the Balkans mountains in the quest for absolute power. Facing virtually no meaningful resistance, it is determined to be the One Land to rule them all.

And there is no one with courage or vision to stop it.

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