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3,000 state-run plants costing 20 billion levs were given away by 'Kostov' cabinet for 2 billion levs. This had been written down by the ministers in the 63 pages of the White Paper. Minister of Justice Anton Stankov (front) read a declaration by the government about the White Paper before journalists in the CM. (PY)
Assenovgrad - St Nicholas Day, Photo BTA.
PM GEORGIEVSKI RECEIVES JAPANESE DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER.
Skopje, December 6 (MIA) Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski received Thursday the deputy Foreign Minister of Japan Toshiyuki Takano.
Thanking for the support that Japan granted to Macedonia and expressing his assurance that the support would continue in the future, Prime Minister Georgievski informed Takano on the current situation in the country, reads the announcement from Premier's Cabinet.
The Prime Minister stressed that the international community ought to apply same principles in the struggle against the terrorists worldwide. He pointed out to the Japanese guests that only few months ago Macedonia was an example of the multiethnic co-life and of the implementation of the democratic principles.
During the talks they jointly stated that in order to overcome the crisis and to return the safety in Macedonia, the economic development was very important, which should be enhanced with the donor's conference. In that respect, Prime Minister Georgievski emphasized the openness and the liberal laws on the foreign investments and underlined his expectation that the Japanese investments would increase in Macedonia.
INTERVIEW OF PONTIFF STEFAN FOR MACEDONIAN RADIO.
Skopje, December 6 (MIA) - "Even before conflicts in Macedonia started, interethnic relations had not been at a high level, although we had mutual respect", Pontiff of Macedonian Orthodox Church Stefan said in the interview for the Macedonian Radio.
Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia stated that when conflicts occurred, MOC proposed several meetings with the Islamic and other religious communities in Macedonia.
We had several unsuccessful meetings, because everything went well at the beginning, but when joint statements had to be signed, some of the religious communities expressed some kind of dissatisfaction and set conditions", Stefan said.
President Trajkovski initiated one of those meetings, but, as Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia said, "it ended without any significant success". Delegations of MOC and Islamic religious community had talks on the same topic in New York also.
"We did not find the strength to make a step, with which our communities would show that in the name of faith, in the name of mutual life in this region, the fighting should stop. Let's hope that we will not need such meetings and initiatives in the future", MOC Pontiff Stefan said in the interview for the Macedonian Radio.
Macedonian Police to Move in 15 New Villages on Saturday.
Skopje - The talks between NATO, EU, OSCE and the Macedonian officials are already finished. According to government sources, tomorrow the list of villages in which the police will move in the second phase of the General Plan for returning of the police in the crisis regions will be known. The number of villages will be 15 instead of 22 as the Macedonian officials have planed. All these villages will be in the surrounding of Tetovo, Kumanovo and Skopje. The only problem for delay of the Plan could be the key issue of removing of some of the Police Check Points from the roads in Tetovo region. The villagers in few Tetovo villages alike Shemshevo, Zhilche, ect. still claim that they do not trust the police and want the Check Points to be moved away.
Arachinovo and Nikushtak, two villages around Skopje, where some of the biggest fights occurred during the conflict, will not be on the list of the villages for the second phase of the General Plan for returning of the Police.
Saturday is the D-Day when the Police early in the morning together with the Task Force Fox liaison teams and the OSCE observers will move in these villages. The Police says that they don't expect any problems during the operations and that the villagers are already informed about it.
PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI'S ADDRESS AT WEU ASSEMBLY SESSION.
The Republic of Macedonia has been undertaking structural reforms in order to meet the political, economic and security criteria for a membership into the European Union and NATO, and now a political decision should be made for its acceptance in these organizations, considering the fact that the country has managed to take brave steps in the most difficult period of its existence, Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski said Thursday.
Addressing at a session of the Western European Union Assembly on a security situation in the Balkans, Trajkovski said that Macedonia reached an important point in the process that would lead the country to peace and stability, to firmly anchored democracy and rule of law.
"Macedonia and the values it prizes have been put on probation by the attack of terrorist forces hostile to democracy and to the fruits of civilization: forces that were prepared to use violence in order to achieve criminal goals. However, thanks to the wise decisions of all legitimate representatives of the citizens of Macedonia, as well as the commitment of the international community, the crisis is becoming a part of the unfortunate past," Trajkovski said.
"Macedonia exceptionally values the timely and adequate response of the Alliance in helping our efforts to overcome the crisis. The Alliance's contribution has an exceptional political importance because for the first time NATO is building truth partnership cooperation for peacekeeping with a partner country and a candidate for membership, based on shared democratic values," he added.
Trajkovski considers that this cooperation is of essential importance in achieving interoperability of Macedonia security forces and through contact on everyday basis we are building an environment for joint efforts in facing security challenges.
He underlined that NATO mission Amber Fox, based on principles of solidarity, partnership and cooperation, actually meant a promotion of security and stability in the region and a framework for Macedonia's preparation to become NATO member.
For the Macedonian President, signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between Macedonia and EU eight months ago and adopting of the constitutional changes by the Macedonian Parliament, are crucial in strengthening of Macedonia's position as a trustworthy partner in regard to the security in SEE region and in global security forums.
Macedonia was the first country in the region to sign the SAA, which is an achievement that lines with the policy of merits of individual states in the region.
"Respecting both, the political consensus in the country and the above mentioned Agreement, Macedonia actively promotes regional cooperation that is in conformity with its commitment to peace and stability and developing of good neighborly relations, as a basis for political dialogue, which promotes the common views of the EU and Macedonia on security and stability in Europe, including the areas covered by the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy," Trajkovski said.
The constitutional amendments, adopted by the Parliament, including the Preamble, the civil concept of Macedonia has been strengthened, firmly defining it not as a state of constituent people, but as a state of the citizens of Macedonia, including the Macedonian people and the individuals belonging to the parts of peoples living in the country.
He stressed that first pardons were granted within the broad amnesty for those, who have committed serious violations of the international humanitarian law, including the pardoning of individuals for whom criminal charges have been brought.
"By expected passing of a new law on local self-government, which is a realization of the long planned decentralization of the country, and creation of multiethnic police force as another pillar for further confidence re-building and internal stability of the country that will continue to respect the equal application of the law to all individuals regardless their background or possible plausible justification, Macedonia has reaffirmed, yet once again, its commitment to democracy, human rights and rule of law, which it has been practicing since its independence in 1991," Trajkovski said.
But, by the same acts, Macedonia sent a strong signal, that according to the natural obligation of a state, it would protect the security of all citizens, treating all future violent actions as terrorism and addressing them with its utmost capacity, Trajkovski said.
"I would like to stress that we expect full support of the whole democratic world that all future terror and violence in Macedonia will be considered as terrorism. Macedonia builds a multiethnic society and cannot, and will not, allow a formation or continuos presence of terrorist groups on its territory, with their primary goal for pressure for ethnic cleansing, as the country believes that ethnic cleansing is wrong and because it has to respect the international law that demands harsh actions against this paramount international crime," he added.
Macedonia praised the efforts of the international community representatives, particularly of NATO, EU and OSCE, which are aimed to strengthen the unity, stability and democracy of the country, Trajkovski said.
"These efforts are not only in the interest of Macedonia. The "gray-zones" - namely, regions with no rule of law but rule of guns - are perfect environment for drug trafficking and terrorist training. To have such grey zones in the heart of the Balkans cannot but produce long-term negative effects on the security of the whole European continent, " Trajkovski said.
"The process of Macedonia's re-affirmation as a sovereign state and multiethnic society takes place at the very time when the whole region is able to provide proofs of positive achievements. SEE is part of Europe and has a strong will to become part of the European Union. The Stabilization and Association Process is a welcomed political tool to incorporate these countries in the EU system. It is a common knowledge that the security and stability of the peninsula, in the context of the globalization of threats, with the attacks of September 11, as the most sober and tragic proof of this claim, are of fundamental importance for the security and stability of the whole continent," Trajkovski said.
He pointed out that the region needed a comprehensive strategy for stability and peace, not least, a cooperation in the areas covered by Common Foreign and Security Policy. This strategy should be based on the following principles: strengthening of democratic processes; non-use of force for political goals; respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and inviolability of borders; rule of law; and economic prosperity, he added.
"The Republic of Macedonia respects the same values shared by the Western European Union and is willing to contribute to their more global dissemination. Macedonia is sure that the Donors' Conference will be additional impulse for the projects that will contribute to the national and regional stability. The state strategy is aiming more than ever before towards internal and external peace and cooperation, towards membership in the Euro-Atlantic initiatives and towards interethnic harmony within Macedonia," Trajkovski said.
Half a century since its establishment, the Western European Union has become a bridge between NATO and the European Union; between the Atlanticism and Europeanism, Trajkovski said.
"Bearing in mind that the creation of a European security and defense policy is aimed at strengthening, not weakening transatlantic ties, the WEU Assembly today is destined to play a larger role in the development of a European defense identity, as the defense component of the EU and as the means to strengthen the European pillar of the Atlantic alliance," Trajkovski said.
SESSION OF COORDINATE CRISIS MANAGEMENT BODY.
The new composition of the Coordinate Crisis Management Body, led by Vice Premier Dosta Dimovska held Thursday the first constitutive and official session, where the current security situation in Macedonia as well as the activities for overcoming the crisis and for restoring the peace and confidence were analyzed.
Minister of Labor and Social Policy Bedredin Ibraimi is the deputy manager of the Coordinate Body. Also Defense Minister Vlado Popovski, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, Justice Minister Ixhet Memeti, Minister of Transport and Communications Ljupco Balkovski as well as the manager of the Crisis Management Center Aleksandar Doncev are members of the Coordinate Body.
Analyzing the current situation in the crisis regions, the Coordinate Body supported the General Plan for returning of the security forces in these areas, which should be realized in all phases. The Coordinate Body also discussed the implementation of the amnesty of former members of NLA.
The Coordinate Body stressed that the criminal activities and the violation of the public peace and order were increased in Tetovo and obliged all law enforcement institutions to engage in preventing the crime efficiently.
In order to implement these activities efficiently the Coordinate Body will enhance the cooperation with the local authorities in Tetovo region. Therefore the Coordinate Body will have meeting with the representatives of the local government in Tetovo as well as to enhance the mutual trust.
Reviewing the information on the undertaken activities of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy regarding the sheltering of the refugees, displaced persons and the returnees - persons that left the country during the crisis, the Coordinate Body concluded that the representatives of the Ministry in charge should control the life standard in the temporary shelter centers. The Body believes that with the normalization of the situation the displaced persons will start to return to their houses. The Media Activity Center of the Coordinate Body will develop several media programs that will introduce the displaced persons and all other citizens who have suffered in the crisis, with their rights. Special attention will be paid on the advertising materials regarding the danger from the inactivated bombs, mines and other weaponry.
Analyzing the information from the Ministry of Transport and Communications referring to the reconstruction of the houses and the infrastructure in the crisis regions, the Coordinate Body obliged the competent services to investigate the actual situation on the terrain and to develop complete information for the next session of the Coordinate Body.
At Thursday's session of the Coordinate Crisis Management Body new Crisis Management Center was established led by Aleksandar Doncev. According to the Decision from the Government, many eminent experts from several ministries and institutions will be included in the work of the Center in order to avoid the omissions.
The Coordinate Body also established new Centre for media activity, which will be engaged in information and advertising activities. The Centre will develop several media programs in order to assist to the displaced persons and the residents in the conflict area to establish conditions for normal life.
MACEDONIA-IMF NEGOTIATIONS ON STAFF-MONITORING PROGRAM.
Macedonia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) successfully completed the negotiations on the IMF Staff-Monitoring Program for the country, and after an approval by the IMF Board, the six-month program should start on January 1, Macedonian Minister of Finance Nikola Gruevski said Thursday at a press conference.
Chief of the IMF Mission to Macedonia Ian Mickelsen and Governor of the Macedonian National Bank Ljube Trpeski were also present at the press conference.
This arrangement meets one of the conditions for convening of a Donors' Conference for Macedonia. The other condition is passing of a law on local self-government, which is being discussed at the parliament.
"If the Parliament adopts it today, than the Donors' Conference will most probably be convened for December 21-22," Gruevski said.
According to him, financial means, granted at the conference, will be used for covering of a US$173 million gap in the payment balance, for the country's renewal and for implementing of the Framework Agreement.
As projected by the IMF program, Macedonia will mark a GDP growth of 4% in 2002 and an inflation rate of 2,5%, which is within the inflation rate of the European Monetary Union.
The budget deficit for 2002 is to be 3,3% of the GDP, while revenues will mark 33,4% of the GDP. The crisis expenditures for 2002 are projected to amount 2,5% of the GDP.
Gruevski said that this year GDP would mark a fall of 4,5%, with an inflation rate of 5,3% of the GDP. Expenditures for the crisis present 5,4% of the GDP. Macedonia will end this year with US$744 million of foreign exchange reserves.
Mickelsen expressed hope that the Macedonian Government would carry out the IMF program successfully, which would maintain the macroeconomic stability of the country.
PRESS CONFERENCE WITH MANAGER OF MACEDONIAN POWER COMPANY.
"If the power plant 'Oslomej' is cut off from the regional waterworks Studencica the problem with water supply in Prilep would not be resolved," General Manager of the Macedonian Power Company Lambe Arnaudov said at Thursday's press conference.
Arnaudov explained that "Oslomej" power plant provides 12,5% of the overall electricity and if it is cut off from Studencica waterworks 220,000 citizens will face lack of electricity.
He said that DM 18 million was necessary to improve the waterworks in Prilep, in order to avoid the unnecessary lost of water. According to him the 110 liters of water used by "Oslomej" could be made up by using the water more rationally.
Arnaudov said that the Macedonian Power Company was ready to engage its expert teams in resolving the problem with the water supply in Prilep.
"Oslomej" power plant also maintains the currency density, necessary for the work of many devices and appliances. The problem with electricity supply cannot be solved by turning on "Negotino" power plant as additional $ 8 million will be necessary.
According to Arnaudov, the foreign investor in FENI is also interested in the hydroelectric power plant Jegunovce, but requests only 500 employees to keep their jobs. But in order to sell "Jegunovce," its capacities should be reviewed and its price should be determined, as "Jugohrom" owes $ 276 million to the foreign investor.
"Macedonian has the lowest price of electricity in Europe," Arnaudov said, adding that the World Bank made remarks on the price.
He announced that the Macedonian Power Company would start to apply the prices determined in the other countries, and the period of "expensive" electricity will increase. According to Arnaudov the citizens will be forced to spend more electricity in the "cheap" tariff, and the revenues of the Power Company will increase.
Plants for 20 Billion Levs Given for 2 Billion.
Cabinet 'Kostov' leaves 559 million levs deficit, empty funds and ruined plants.
3,000 state plants costing 20 billion levs were given away by the 'Kostov' Cabinet for 2 billion levs. This was what the ministers wrote down in the 63 pages of the White Paper. It was published in the Internet yesterday. The document describes 50 deals. Ventzeslav Varbanov, his former deputy Georgy Karkumov, Minister of Justice Teodosiy Simeonov, his right hand Zlatka Rouseva and several clerks are mentioned in it. We lag behind because the political ethics didn't allow us to read before the elections some quite dark pages of the newest history, the cabinet has written in the book. Many of the cases have been submitted to the prosecution. In the book it's written that the assets of the state have been given away for averagely 20% of their real cost. State enterprises had been constantly led to bankruptcy, money making firms made loses for millions of levs during the last year of Kostov's rule. Misappropriations for more than 36 million levs were reported in the 'Zemedelie' fund. State has bought property for huge sums of 3,600 levs per square meter. Most of the departments have spent almost all their money before the elections in June. There is a gap of 559 million levs in the state budget. There are not enough money for social security, pensions and salaries. The budget of the municipalities has a 216 million deficit. Losses from bad management of external finances are assessed to 1-2 billion Euros for the 1998-2000 period. However, the scandalous deals of Kostov's cabinet are missing in the White Book. There isn't a single word about the national carrier Balkan, the affairs with the compesatory vouchers and the selling of flats, owned by the state, at extremely low prices. 11 member committee will investigate the signals on the insistence of PM Saxe-Goburg-Gotha.
Varna Shipyard To be Sold by Tender.
N. Vassilev: I'll Run Over the Dead-Body of Each Politician
or ill-wisher, trying to impede me from resolving the problems of the Varna shipyard, said Vice-Premier in Varna yesterday. Even in my worst nightmares I wouldn't like to face an option without any investor to the works, Vassilev added. Yesterday the creditors decided that the shipyard will be sold as a whole business.
Deutsche Bank Gives Dinner to Simeon.
Deutsche Bank will give official dinner in honour of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on the first day of his official visit in Germany on December 13 and 14. The PM will meet mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit first and after that will be received by Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Talks with representatives of the Bundestag, the Christian Democratic Union and the PDS are included in his program. Simeon will deliver a lecture before German businessmen and will give an interview for the N-TV. The PM will open the Economic Forum for Bulgaria in Berlin.
Over $1 Bln Foreign Investments Expected Next Year.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Nikolay Babev
We will submit the White Paper to the Premier tomorrow, hopefully by February the cabinet will say which proposals are accepted, Nikolay Babev, CEO of BIBA says.
The possibilities for attracting more foreign investments in Bulgaria, discussed economists and businessmen yesterday. The Industrial Capital Association, the Center for Economic Development and 'Albena Invest Holding' JSC sponsored the forum. 'Poverty and unemployment prove to be our gravest problem. It could be resolved not by increasing social aids, bur rather by accelerating economic growth. Investments are needed for it,' Vice-Premier Lidia Shouleva said.
- Mr Babev, what are the BIBA's (Bulgarian Industrial and Business Association) recommendations in the sixth edition of the White Paper on investments?
- We didn't count them. It was only yesterday ( ed. n. - on Tuesday) that we completed the final version. But in any case, they are not less than those we made last year - there are over 130 proposals.
- What do you offer to the present government?
- I can't give you concrete information, before we present the White Paper to the Premier. This will happen on Friday. The Paper comprises 6 chapters, where we trace back what had been done to implement the proposals from end-2000. The privatization's topic is now missing, since nothing happened within the last 12 months. We appreciate the positive things in the new legislation the new government introduced. The Privatization Act is an illustrative example. Taking away preferences given to the MEAs (Managers and Employees Associations) is a very old idea of ours. Finally, it is fixed by law.
- Yet, when can we expect fresh foreign investments?
- $486 million have already come by end-September, but this is too small a sum. Till end-year we can't expect anything.
- We hope that in early-2002 the situation will improve. Actually, a bit more than $1 billion may be expected.
Sofia - Nis Highway - Key Project for Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
Free trade agreement will enable the two countries to make a pivotal turn in their economic relations, told "Standart" HE Cedomir Radoikovic, Ambassador of FR Yugoslavia to Sofia.
The recent visit of BG Foreign Minister Solomon Passy to Yugoslavia has furnished a good opportunity to make a survey of the current status of the Bulgarian-Yugoslav relations and the perspectives for their development. A progress in our bilateral relations became noticeable immediately after the democratic changes in Yugoslavia after October 5 last year. The visit of Dr. Passy is a continuation of the trend started a year ago. In the course of talks between Dr. Passy and Minister Svilanovic, as well as during his meetings with Yugoslav President Kostunica and Serb vice-premier Covic, the willingness of both countries was emphasized to promote our relationships to ever higher level. The interstate agreement was signed about cooperation in telecommunications along with the program for cooperation in education and culture in the coming two years. The agreement on combined transport and expedition is to be signed in the near future. Economic relationships and projects are two major fields where cooperation between the two countries will be most active in the coming years. The countries have displayed readiness to sign an agreement on free trade. It will become a pivotal moment in the economic relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. The construction of a highway between Sofia and Nis is the priority task of our governments. On this plane our country sees the programs executed under the auspices of the Stability Pact in Southeastern Europe as a chance for realization of other joint regional projects, as for instance, cooperation between the borderline communities and building of roads of regional importance. The status of the Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia is of special significance to our relationships. It is noteworthy that the representatives of the Bulgarian minority have made their contribution to the democratic processes in Yugoslavia and now they share responsibility of governance on all levels. Instead of offering a conclusion about the favorable state and promising prospects of the bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, I would like to quote part of the statement Dr. Passy made in Belgrade. He backed up the idea of "infrastructure revolution" after the mode of the Marshall Plan. I would also like to add that if this idea comes true, it would become a major contribution not only into the development of cooperation between the two countries but will help to cement ties between our peoples. In this sense the construction of Sofia - Nis highway could be one of the most significant steps.
BULGARIA - ROMANIA.
Sofia, December 6 (BTA) - The Commission on Disclosure of Records and Ascertainment of Involvement with the Former State Security or the Former Intelligence Agency of the General Staff and the Romanian National Council for Investigation of Securitates Archives signed on Thursday an agreement on cooperation allowing the two bodies to exchange information about victims of the communist rule in Bulgaria and Romania, legislation and organizing of joint events. The news was announced by chairman of the Bulgarian secret police files commission Metodi Andreev who said that the accord is under the memorandum on the programme for mutual cooperation.
Romania runs ahead of Bulgaria with regard to opening the files of the former special services as the solution of the problem needs a political will, Andreev said earlier on Thursday at a meeting between the Romanian delegation and Bulgarian MPs. Attending it were Luchezar Toshev and Blagoi Dimitrov, MPs of the United Democratic Forces. "One and the same Soviet model of the services worked in Bulgaria and Romania," Chairman of the Romanian Council George Onisoru said.
Andreev said that the former state security spied on groups of Romanian tourists visiting Bulgaria with the chief aim to establish their attitude towards that Bulgarian political system and towards Nicolae Ceausescu.
Andreev told reporters that next week the commission will release a report on a check for involvement with the state security of the members of the Council on Electronic Media, CEM. The official said that the secret police files commission has not demanded a preliminary check of the CEM candidates of either the parliamentary or presidential quota. "Without knowing what the results of the check will be, I reject beforehand all insinuations which might emerge after the report is released," said Andreev. The CEM members filled in a declaration stating that they have not collaborated with the state security. If this is different from the truth, the respective official is liable to be sanctioned under the Penal Code, Andreev said.
The commissions report about the representatives of the judiciary will be ready by the year-end, he said.
Sofia, December 6 (BTA) - Parliamentary delegations from Balkan countries, Bulgaria included, took part in a program organized by the Greek national center on state administration and the Greek parliament.
Bulgarian MPs from all political parties, led by Simeon II National Movement MP and chairperson of the Interparliamentary Group Margarita Kuneva, will be familiarized with the organization of the parliamentary process and the administrative structure of the Greek state.
The Bulgarian MPs have already met with the Greek Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, deputy ministers Lambros Papadimas and Stavros Benos, first deputy speaker of the Greek parliament Costas Gitonas, the chairmen of the parliamentary committees on state administration, national defence and foreign affairs and
representatives of the various political parties.
All costs are covered by the Greek hosts in an attempt to better acquaint the MPs from the Balkan states with each other and establish relations that would lead to fruitful cooperation between the legislatures in the region, the Greek Embassy in Sofia told BTA.
Sofia, December 6 (BTA) - The 18th General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation adopted Thursday a declaration for fight against international terrorism. The draft was proposed by the Greek delegation.
International terrorism is a serious threat to peace and progress, it destabilizes the countries and their economic
development, reads the declaration. The parliamentarians condemned categorically the September 11 attacks against the U.S. and called on all countries to continue to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism.
Earlier on Tuesday the participants in the forum discussed cooperation between the BSEC members aimed at promoting political stability through economic integration.