Enter content here
Simeon and Parvanov: We Have No Contradictions. Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and president-elect Georgi Parvanov had a 65-minute tet-a-tet in the Hilton hotel. Both declared that there were no major differences in their stands. They agreed that an interim chief will be appointed in the National Security Service before Parvanov officially takes office in January. Photo by Stoyan Nenov
US Slaps Sanctions on Albanian Groups.
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department has imposed sanctions against two Albanian groups, accusing them of attempting to undermine democracy and efforts to secure peace and stability in Macedonia, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The groups are the Albanian National Army (ANA) and the National Committee for the Liberation and Defense of Albanian Lands.
Under the sanctions, the Treasury Department is authorized to block the assets in the United States of these groups and to prohibit financial transactions with them by Americans, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said.
He said the action supports Macedonian efforts to implement an Aug. 13 agreement strengthen democracy. The agreement followed several months of strife between the ethnic Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority populations.
The sanctions were consistent with a June 27 executive order designed to curb financial flows to groups and individuals engaged in extremist violence and other destabilizing activities in the western Balkans.
So-Called Ana Threatens To Become "True Nightmare" For Macedonia.
Skopje, December 5 (MIA) The so-called Albanian National army said Thursday it "regretted" a decision of the U.S. administration, which enlisted this terrorist organization in the Washington's black list.
In an announcement that so-called ANA sent to MIA on November 14, their "spokesperson" said that "their members" were not responsible for kidnapping civilians, but they "only took the responsibility for murdering of three Macedonian policemen near the Tetovo village of Trebos."
"If the ANA is considered illegal by the U.S. that this is moral handicap for us, because we consider the U.S. an important ally in the efforts of the Albanians for freedom and democracy, even from the time of President Woodrow Wilson," reads the announcement signed by the self-proclaimed ANA spokesman, Alban Berisha.
The so-called ANA claims it does not violate the U.S. laws because it does not operate in America and does not attack the U.S. interests. "We violate and we shall continue to violate the discriminating laws of the phantom country FYROM, which remained on its feet thanks only to the enormous tolerance of the Albanians and the favor of the U.S. toward official Skopje," Berisha says, adding that "the Albanian tolerance was forced by the influence from and respect toward America."
Accusing the Macedonian politicians for "working on destruction of the state," Berisha threatens that "if they continue to do so, ANA will become their worse nightmare, which will disable the existence of the 'Oasis of Peace'."
The announcement also reads that "ANA respects the interests of Albanians' western allies, but when the allying becomes only rethorics, and nothing is done in reality, we will make everyone believe that ten million Albanians in the Balkans cannot be neglected."
The United States Department of State announced last night that the so-called ANA and the so-called National Committee for Liberation and Defense of Albanian Lands were included in the executive order 13219 of President George Bush issued on June 27, 2001, which designates these groups as terrorist organizations.
"The designation of these groups, whose violent tactics aim to undermine democracy and threaten ongoing efforts to secure peace and stability in Macedonia, Kosovo, southern Serbia and the region, will allow the U.S. Treasury to block the assets in the U.S. of these groups and to prohibit financial transactions with them by U.S. persons," U.S. State department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.
PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI PARDONS 11 MEMBERS OF SO-CALLED NLA.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski made decisions on Wednesday to pardon 11 members of the so-called NLA, who were detained on September 26, 2001.
President Trajkovski made these decisions according to the Article 84 from the Macedonian Constitution and in compliance with his Statement on amnesty of the members of the so-called NLA from October 8, which was also approved by the Government on October 9.
These as well as the future decisions on amnesty made by the Macedonian President encompasses only persons that surrendered their arms by September 26, 2001 and whose criminal offenses are related with the conflict. The immunity for further prosecution does not refer to persons that committed criminal acts processed by the International Court on War Crimes for former Yugoslavia in Hague.
The Presidents Amnesty Committee continued to review the 88 proposals on amnesty submitted by the Justice Ministry and it is expected to complete its work on Thursday.
The names of the amnestied persons will be announced in the Official Gazette of Republic of Macedonia.
DEPUTIES' COMMENTS ABOUT PRESIDENT'S DECISION ON AMNESTY.
The Democratic Alternative party is against the amnesty for 11 members of the so-called NLA, signed on Wednesday by President Boris Trajkovski, DA deputy in the Parliament Radomir Karangelevski told MIA.
He believes that this decision suspends the criminal law and the rule of law in Macedonia.
"The essence of the problem is not clear and the institutions of the system ought to state if this was a matter of struggle for human rights or something completely different," Karangelevski said.
Ismet Ramadani from the Party for Democratic Prosperity said that the decision for amnesty was a good beginning and opened possibility for realization of the other parts from the Framework Agreement.
Gulistana Markovska from VMRO-DPMNE said that the pardoning was an obligation from the Framework Agreement, adding that there was no mood in the Parliament for passing a Law for amnesty.
"The VMRO-DPMNE gave amnesty to Rufi Osmani and Alajdin Demiri, but that was not welcomed," Markovska said.
STATEMENT OF MACEDONIAN AMBASSADOR TO NATO ON AMNESTY.
Today's decision of President Boris Trajkovski to pardon 11 members of the so-called NLA, who were in custody until September 26, is an obligation foreseen by the Framework Agreement, approved by NATO, EU and OSCE, Macedonian Ambassador to NATO Nano Ruzin said Wednesday.
In a statement for MIA, Ruzin said that amnesty was one of the preconditions for stabilizing of the situation in Macedonia. He did not want to comment whether a law on amnesty should be passed or not.
Ruzin considers that Trajkovski's visit to Brussels, his address at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and meeting with NATO Secretary General George Robertson, improved Macedonia's position before the international community.
"It was very bad, considering the long adoption of the peace agreement. Now, it is clear that the multiethnic democracy in Macedonia, determined by the new Constitution, will become real by stronger international economic and financial support," Ruzin said.
He considers that the Donor's Conference for Macedonia may take place in mid-December, but "it should be well prepared."
"If there is a delay, it does not mean that the conference will be canceled. Good preparations take time, but lead to greater success," Ruzin said.
NATO set to extend Macedonia peace mission.
BRUSSELS, Dec 5 (Reuters) - NATO allies looked set on Wednesday to approve Macedonia's request for an extension of its military peace mission in the former Yugoslav republic, alliance officials said.
They said none of NATO's 19 members was expected to object to the plan, and confirmation that "Operation Amber Fox" would continue for another three months from January was likely in a matter of days.
"We'll do it as quickly as we can," one official said. "I expect this shouldn't be too much of a problem."
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski sent a formal request to NATO earlier this week for an extension of the operation, which was set up to buttress a fragile peace accord between the government and ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
The lightly armed, German-led force of 1,000 troops is providing protection to international monitors who are observing the return of Macedonian government forces and displaced people to former flashpoints.
"We would like the process of restoring sovereignty throughout the whole territory to start, which will provide the essential preconditions for the normalisation of life in the Republic of Macedonia," Trajkovski said in his letter.
"In this context we are aware that the task of re-establishing sovereignty will not be completed by the end of the current mandate of the international monitoring missions and more particularly of the mandate of Task Force Fox."
The absence of controversy over the extension was in marked contrast to the niggling over its establishment for an initial three-month period at the end of September.
The Macedonian government, concerned that ethnic Albanian guerrillas could exploit a robust NATO presence to split the country, had originally held out for a NATO force of 700.
"Amber Fox" replaced the 4,500-strong Operation Essential Harvest" mission which collected nearly 4,000 weapons in a voluntary guerrilla disarmament scheme.
It was part of an accord under which the rebel National Liberation Army, which seized Macedonia's hills in seven months of conflict, was to disband in exchange for reforms giving the Albanians better civil rights.
Trajkovski, who has declared an amnesty for disbanded guerrillas, said in his letter that NATO needed to send a message to "the remnants of terrorist groups and to the newly emerged ones that their armed provocations and violence will not be tolerated."
He has said that the government wants to regain control of territory under the sway of rebels by mid-January.
"It is my understanding that the need for additional security will end with the completion of the Macedonian security forces' re-entry process," he said in his letter.
Simeon and Parvanov Had 65-minute Tete-a-Tete.
Nadelina Aneva PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and president-elect Georgi Parvanov had a tete-a-tete yesterday for more than a hour at the Hilton hotel. At a working breakfast, they agreed on how to interact in running the country and to consult with each other on pivotal issues until Georgi Parvanov takes office. Both of them said they have no jarring in their stands. "If it is true that it is never a bad day that hath a good night, no conflicts are expected between us," the president-elect said after their first breakfast together. They are to settle their differences by means of an active dialogue. "The hot news after our meeting is that there is no news," PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said. He showed willingness for a maximum interaction to show the world that authorities in Bulgaria have common priorities.
BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER - US VISIT.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy Confers with US National Security Advisor Rice.
Washington, D.C, December 5 (BTA) - Bulgaria helped a lot to achieve stability in the Balkans and particularly so to contain the negative processes in Macedonia, US National Security Advisor Condolleeza Rice told Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, as quoted by the Bulgarian Foreign Ministrys Information Directorate. Passy arrived on a visit to the United States on Tuesday.
During the meeting Rice thanked for Bulgarias support to the NATO allies by invoking Article 5 of the North-Atlantic Treaty and actually joining NATO without being a member in the Alliance. The US National Security Advisor said that the United States praises the military agreement signed with Bulgaria and its implementation in practice by allowing the use of the Bourgas Airport for the needs of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Passy familiarized Rice with the measures the Bulgarian Government has undertaken implementing Resolution 1373 of the UN Security Council of September 28, 2001.
The two also discussed the long-term nature of the anti-terrorist campaign launched by the international community.
Rice stressed the determination expressed by US President George W. Bush in Warsaw about NATOs enlargement without geographic or historical prejudice.
The relations between Bulgaria and the United States are in excellent state and both the military and political cooperation between the two have a bright future, Passy said after the meeting. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister invited Rice to visit Bulgaria and also discussed a possible future visit to the United States by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, says the press release of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.
Caretaker Chairmen to head the NSS till January 22.
Premier and President-Elect Didn't Discuss Names of Acting Head of the Intelligence. A few fresh ambassadors will be appointed urgently.
The director of the National Security Service (NSS) will be appointed after January 22, PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and President-Elect Georgi Parvanov said yesterday. Interim officer will run the NSS until then. 'I would not object if within a few weeks an interim director is nominated,' Parvanov said yesterday. To the PM, particular names have not been discussed. The major political castling will take place after January 22. Several ambassadors, however, will be replaced by then. 'We discussed three rounds of appointments in principle,' Parvanov elaborated. Apart from the heads of diplomatic missions, whose mandate expires these days, there is a wide range of vacant ambassadors' posts and others which need prompt reshuffling. To Parvanov, it's highly important that effective solutions should be found, particularly as regards missions, important for the European integration of the country.
Simeon: The Topic of NMS Leader Admits Delay.
I have an absolute respect and esteem for the institutions. This was the brief commentary of PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the question, if several days ago he had sent the director of his office - Stoyan Ganev, to visit General Prosecutor Filchev on the case of Vezhdi Rashidov. The Premier refused to elaborate on his personal stand about the detention of the sculptor. 'Certain subjects admit a delay, the matter of who the leader of the new MNS party will be, is one of them, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha explained.
Blast Ruined Residential Block in Sofia.
36 families without electricity, water and central heating.
Powerful blast broke the doors and the windows of block 133 in the 'Hadzhi Dimitar' residential district in Sofia yesterday. The explosion ruined the lift-shaft, the walls were cracked, all the windows and doors were broken, there were flooded flats, a policeman, who comes out of the block covered with plaster from head to foot, says. All the residents of the building stand in front of it. An ambulance carries away a man with cut hand, who lives on the 9th floor. His four-year old son Denis is crying next to the stretcher. Water, electricity and heating have been cut off, because of a possible short circuit. 36 families stay in the street. Policemen don't allow them to enter the building, because it could collapse. To the police the bomb has been planted in front of the door on the ninth floor. There the mother of Kiril Tzvetkov, who once was close to Poly Pantev, lives, the neighbours say. Pantev was known for his relations with the mafia and was killed in Aruba last year. After his death Tzvetkov takes part of Poly's business. The bomb has been planted in front of Tzvetkov's flat. It consisted of at least a kilo of trotyl. So powerful blast has never exploded in any residential block in Sofia, policemen say. It wasn't aiming only intimidation. So powerful a bomb could aim only killing, they add.
Kostov Promised To Speak out in Plovdiv.
Ivan Kostov plans to break his silence vow soon and make his first political speech after the election fiasco of the UDF before supporters in Plovdiv, the local UDF activists learnt yesterday. The UDF city leader Dr. Vassil Panitsa pointed out that he had talked the Commander into paying a visit to the town. 'Kostov is the nation's capital, we have to hear him out', the UDF veterans commented.
Turkey Allots Money for Bulgarian Church in Istanbul.
The Turkish government will urgently allot money for the reenforcement of the Bulgarian iron church "St Stephan" in Istanbul, and the overhaul of the mosques in Razgrad, Shoumen, Plovdiv and Smolyan will be financed by Bulgaria, heads of the two Departments of Ecclesiastical Matters Mehmed Nuri Yilmaz and Lyubomir Mladenov agreed upon. Turkish authorities are to issue express work visas to Bulgarian experts who will work on the reenforcement of the iron church, Mehmed Nuri Yilmaz said. The Bulgarian priests there will be granted the statute of permanent residence by the Turkish government. The humanitarian aids for Bulgarian Orthodox community in Istanbul will not be imposed customs-duty on. $50,000 have been sent to Edirne for the urgent repair of the Bulgarian Orthodox church "St George".
Hi-Tech Exhibition Opened in Bulgaria.
We dedicate our success to Vladimir Grashnov, leader of the delegation Georgy Stephanov says.
19 Bulgarian inventors presented 72 inventions, technologies, scientific methods and 16 new products at the International Exhibition Salon IENA 2001 in Nurnberg, Germany and Lrussels Eureca 2001 in Brussels, Belgium. Bulgarian participants received more awards than the representatives of the other countries. They got total 75 diplomas and 18 honorary diplomas, 19 medals, 11 cups and awards for a complex presentation. For the first time within 12 years Bulgarian delegation takes part in such an international forum. The Bulgarian inventions were presented by the help of multimedia video and text presentations, 34 posters and more than 20 prototypes. The successes of this delegation are dedicated to Vladimir Grashnov, because 'MobiTel' has provided us big moral and financial support, its leader Georgy Stephanov said.
Home-Made Brandy Excisable
from next year on, the budget committee decided. Wine produced for home use and bulky coffee wouldn't have an excise label. The excise for roasted coffee will become 1.30 levs per kg, and for the raw, 1 lev per kg. The tax on tea will be encreased from 30% to 40%.
The Director of Kyustendils customs was fired.
The Director of Kyustendils customs Georgy Ivanchov was fired today. Ivanchov, who was appointed 1 month ago, is a long year employee that had passed through all the levels of hierarchy. The current Director of the Kyustendils customs is Ivaylo Zarev, who is former Director of sector in Kalotina customs. Zarev was appointed on November 27 as Deputy Director of the Kyustendils customs.
Bulgarian consuls in Tripoli and Bengazi visited detained Bulgarian medical personnel in the Judeyda prison.
The two Bulgarian consuls in Tripoli and Bengazi visited detained Bulgarian medical personnel in the Judeyda prison today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Elena Poptodorova said for News.bg Agency, and added that the Ministry was keeping constant contacts with the Libyan authorities. She expressed hopes for favorable ruling on the December-22nd hearing of the case against the Bulgarian medical personnel and that the court would take into consideration the additional proofs submitted by the defense after September 22. Elena Poptodorova also said the next meeting of the interdepartmental Commission concerning the case would take place between December 14 and 22.
Closing down the four older Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant reactors could be a catastrophe for Bulgaria, experts said.
Closing down the four older Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant reactors could be a catastrophe for Bulgaria, the members of the Committee for the protection of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant announced apropos the commemoration of the first year of its creation. According to the experts, missed revenues resulting from permanent closing down reactors 1 and 2 could exceed USD 1 billion, causing the electricity to rise in price by 17 percent. At present, Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant has been providing about 40 percent of electricity in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian govt accuses predecessor of "robbery."
By Anatoly Verbin
SOFIA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The new Bulgarian government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg, former King Simeon II, has accused the Balkan state's previous rulers of "unscrupulous robbery" and formed a special body to investigate alleged misdeeds.
The centre-right Union of Democratic Forces, which governed in 1997-2001, immediately dismissed the charges as an attempt by the cabinet to cover up its own inability to run the impoverished state.
A 63-page White Paper published on Wednesday said it had taken more than four months to collect facts on the UDF rule because of "the scale of unscrupulous robbery which was becoming clear while we were clarifying the real state of our country."
It said that in the state-run Zemedelie fund alone, misappropriation had reached 36 million levs ($16.5 million). The fund administers state farm subsidies and loans.
The whole process of privatisation had been slow and marked by low revenue and corruption. As a result, Bulgaria's assets had been sold at 20 percent of their real price, the document said.
In the last six months before the June 16 general election, which the UDF lost to the National Movement for Simeon II formed only in April, the government had managed the budget irresponsibly.
"The discovered facts are so grave that the government has decided to set up a White Commission," said the document.
It would consist of representatives of the interior, finance and justice ministries whose identity would be kept secret. It would accept written evidence, including anonymous submissions, and have the right to summon those it deemed necessary.
The materials collected by the commission would be passed to the prosecutor's office for legal investigation when needed.
UDF SAYS IT'S A COVER-UP
The UDF cabinet won praise from the West for its solid macroeconomic record and unwavering drive towards NATO and European Union membership.
But falling living standards and media charges of top level graft, denied by the UDF, prompted the impoverished nation to vote the UDF out of power.
On Wednesday, the UDF dismissed the new government's move.
"Obviously, the government has realised its inability to tackle the hard problems facing the country and is using this so-called White Paper to justify its incompetence," UDF deputy leader Dimitar Abadzhiev told Reuters.
"This is arrogance, lack of morality and a shameless manoeuvre."
The business daily newspaper Dnevnik also said the cabinet, facing growing protests against poverty, was using the document as a way to allay anger over its pre-election promises which included quick improvement in living standards.
Voters have already showed their discontent. On November 18 incumbent Petar Stoyanov, backed both by the UDF and Saxe-Coburg, was defeated in a presidential election by Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov.