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The U.N .war crimes tribunal's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, left, talks with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski at the presidential office in Skopje, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2001. Del Ponte announced Tuesday she plans two investigations about alleged war crimes committed during Macedonia's six-month insurgency, one focusing on ethnic Albanian rebels, and one focusing on government soldiers. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
The Hague's chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, center, walks surrounded by unidentified associates after landing on Skopje Airport in Macedonia Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001. Del Ponte was to meet on Tuesday with Macedonian leaders to discuss an investigation of war crimes allegedly committed by ethnic Albanian rebels, the foreign ministry said. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Bulgarian President-elect Georgi Parvanov, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001 in Sofia. 12 years after the collapse of communist rule, Bulgaria is the third former Soviet bloc country to elect an ex-communist as head of state. (AP Photo/Dimitar Deinov)
President-elect Georgi Parvanov, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001 in Sofia. 12 years after the collapse of communist rule, Bulgaria is the third former Soviet bloc country to elect an ex-communist as head of state. (AP Photo/Dimitar Deinov)
In his first interview for Reuters President-elect Georgi Parvanov said yesterday he would work hard to accelerate Bulgaria's accession to the EU and NATO. He gave a signal to the western world that he hoped the invitation would be extended the following year. 'The membership in NATO depends on meeting the criteria for it and on the decision of the 19 member-countries. Nothing has changed in this respect', said Richard Miles, ambassador of the USA in connection with the election of Parvanov. On the photo: On the election night the new president-elect Georgi Parvanov extends gratitude first to the MFR leader Ahmed Dogan for the decisive support in the runoff. Photo Nikolai Donchev
Angry Bulgarian farmers empty out milk in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Sofia, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001, to protest against low prices for their milk production. Protesters asked the government to guarantee the minimum purchase price of 0.45 lev (0.22 USD) per litre. (AP Photo)
SOUTHEAST EUROPE UNIVERSITY OPENED IN TETOVO.
Chairman of the Board of Southeast Europe University Zamir Dika formally opened this institution on Tuesday.
In his address, President of the SEEU Foundation Max van der Stoel said that this institution offers numerous possibilities to the young Albanians to further develop the Albanian language and culture.
"However, it should be clear that the doors of this University are open to all other students regardless to their ethnic belonging," Stoel said.
Alajdin Abazi, Rector of the SEEU, said that the University would contribute to the overall development of the country and to the improvement of the inter-ethnic relations. In that context, he said, the University policy would be based on intensive cooperation with all educational and scientific institutions in the country.
President of the Republic of Macedonia Boris Trajkovski hailed the opening of the University.
"The Republic of Macedonia will grow into a modern state where all citizens will discover the true meaning of democracy, rule of law and human rights. Development of quality education system is essential for our country's integration in Europe," reads the note from President Trajkovski.
At the SEEU, approximately 850 students will be able to study law, business administration, public administration, communications sciences and technologies and lecturers' training.
The formal SEEU opening was also attended by EU special envoy to Macedonia Alain Le Roy, Undersecretary of higher education at the Macedonian Ministry of Education and Science Marija Taseva, Rector of the Skopje University Aleksandar Ancevski and representatives of the diplomatic corpse and political parties in Macedonia.
FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS MACEDONIA.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva met Tuesday with her Finnish counterpart Errki Tuomioja in Skopje. The meeting focused on the global fight against terrorism, the bilateral cooperation and the options for its further enhancement.
The importance of holding the donor's conference for Macedonia as soon as possible and obtaining the financial assistance was stressed at the meeting. Mitreva has committed for signing off some of Macedonia's international debts.
She also stressed that Macedonia, which continues its integration process within EU and NATO, expected support for soon ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and enhanced cooperation with Finland within the Partnership for Peace.
Mitreva stressed that it was exceptionally important to establish control over the entire territory of Macedonia, the security forces and the international monitors to return according to the pilot-plan and to create conditions for returning of the displaced persons.
Mitreva and Tuomioja shared their opinions about the global fight against terrorism. Mitreva stressed Macedonia's position that "there was no small or big terrorism, but there was only terrorism and all countries worldwide should unite in the fight against it."
Mitreva also pointed out the instruments that Macedonia used in the fight against terrorism and the organized crime.
On bilateral plan, the options for promoting the economic relations were reviewed as well as the possibility for organizing Business forum in Macedonia where businessmen from Finland would participate.
Finnish Minister Tuomioja expressed his satisfaction from the visit to Macedonia "in a time when there are great chances for peace and security."
Tuomioja informed that at Monday's meeting of the Council of foreign ministers of EU member countries the adoption of the constitutional amendments in Macedonia were hailed as "new cornerstone."
He stressed that the European Union was ready to support the implementation of the Framework Agreement. "In that respect we are ready to enhance our efforts and to speed up the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and to play our role in the donor's conference for Macedonia," Tuomioja said.
Tuomioja confirmed that Finland would participate at donor's conference, which according to him would be organized on December 25.
MACEDONIAN PRIME MINISTER GEORGIEVSKI MEETS FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER TUOMIOJA.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski received Tuesday Finnish Foreign Minister Errki Tuomioja, who expressed his assurance that with the implementation of the Framework Agreement the situation in Macedonia would stabilize and the peace would be restored.
According to the announcement from the Premier's Cabinet, the Finnish Minister stressed that the international community would continue to support Macedonia in its political and economical reintegration and pointed out the significance of holding the donor's conference for financial assistance of Macedonia.
Reminding on Macedonia's activities in the past years as well as on the positive assessments from the international community for the multi ethnic life and the rights of the minorities in Macedonia, Georgievski stressed that the position of the international community toward the terrorism in the country was not understandable. However, as Georgievski emphasized, Macedonia has realized the agreed, the Framework agreement would be implemented and the cooperation with the international community would continue.
The international institutions should return the terrorists on Kosovo and should disarm them, as although all requests of the Albanians were met, the situation in the crisis regions is not stable.
POLITICAL PARTIES' POSITIONS ON EARLY ELECTIONS.
VMRO - DPMNE Coordinator Cedomir Kraljevski stated that his party did not feel that early elections should be held in January 2001, as "the elections would not accomplish their goal, i.e. would not express the people's political will."
According to Kraljevski, in order to hold the early elections it is necessary to establish sovereignty on the entire territory, to conduct realistic census that will indicate the electoral body in the country, to complete the election's legislature by implementing regulations, which will overcome the irregularities in the elections and in the election campaign.
SDSM's position is that "early parliamentary elections are necessary for Macedonia."
According to SDSM spokesman Radmila Sekerinska "only government that has full legitimacy and that can be only elected through elections can deal with the current security, economic and social problems."
"The current functioning of the Macedonian Government indicates that the country needs government with its own platform for resolving the crisis and the economic and social tensions," Sekerinska said, stressing that the postponing of the parliamentary elections only postpones the resolution of the problems.
SDSM thinks that conditions could be created for holding the early elections. "But if someone wants to prolong the crisis in Macedonia, then one can produce incidents in order to postpone the elections."
"In that respect SDSM will vote for dissolving of the Parliament," Sekerinska said, adding that the Central Committee of the party would make a decision whether they would leave the governmental coalition.
Coordinator of the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP) Naser Ziberi regarding the announcements that SDSM will leave the governmental coalition, says that if SDSM makes such decision they have probably analyzed all possible consequences from that move.
In the statement for MIA, Ziberi assesses that the Assembly session for dissolving of the Parliament was scheduled too early.
"According to Ohrid agreement, this composition of the Macedonian Assembly should adopt many other laws and important decisions, as well as the Law on local self-government, financing the municipalities, territorial division, the amendments in the Law on administration as well as the Regulation book of the Assembly work," Ziberi said.
Ziberi assesses that "these obligations should not be left to the next government, which would probably have nothing in common with the existing composition of the Assembly and the Government."
PDP is for holding early parliamentary elections, Ziberi says, delivering a message to all partners in the coalition to adopt all laws in November and then to dissolve the Parliament.
DPA will not vote for the draft-decision for dissolving of the Parliament, and is also against the early parliamentary elections to be held January 27, 2002.
Explaining this position, DPA Coordinator Zamir Dika stated that technically not all preconditions are met for the early elections, and the dissolving of the Parliament would mean "prolonging the first, mots important steps for implementation of Framework agreement."
"The political map after the new elections, will have one major task - to implement the Framework Agreement," Dika said.
"If we do not organize good elections, then the peace process will not be good, there will be no stability, no economic prosperity of Republic of Macedonia," Dika added.
DPA believes that the legal arguments and the actual situation on the terrain have great impact on the draft-decision for dissolving the Parliament and on the early parliamentary elections.
Dika assessed the statement of PDP coordinator Ziberi that the laws can be adopted for one month, as "optimistic." According to Dika the process would be "long and hard."
Asked whether the existing government could face the political, security and economic problems, Dika said that the political map referring to the biggest political parties would be kept on the next elections and there would be no "refreshment" in that aspect. He believes that the existing government has capacity to fulfill the obligations arising from Framework Agreement.
Regarding SDSM's announcement for leaving the governmental coalition, Dika assessed that "it would be good this government to remain in the existing composition, with all parties - signers of Framework Agreement." "We should continue the implementation of the agreement," Dika said.
"VMRO - VMRO believes that there are no conditions for holding fair and democratic parliamentary elections," Zlatko Stojmenov said.
According to Stojmenov VMRO - VMRO did not define their position yet regarding the session for dissolving the Parliament. It is expected the party to announce its position by Friday.
The eventual leaving of SDSM from the governmental coalition would impact VMRO - VMRO's decision. He informed that the Executive Committee of the party would hold session on Thursday, where they would discuss whether the party would remain in the coalition.
Democratic Alternative supported the decision for dissolving of the Parliament and holding early elections. Nikola Jovanov said that DA accepted this, although it is an obligation of the signers of Ohrid agreement.
Slobodan Danevski from the Liberal Party is also for the early elections, although there are no conditions for their realization as there are armed provocations in some parts of the country.
Stating his personal position that he would vote in favor of the early parliamentary elections, Danevski said that the same parties would obtain the majority of the votes so the Parliamentary ambient would not change.
"New Democracy will vote against dissolving of the parliament," Coordinator of the party Risto Spanakov stated for MIA.
He stressed that New Democracy is for early elections, but some preconditions should be met such as the return of the expulsed persons, establishing control on the entire territory and valid census.
Spanakov expressed hope that Chief Prosecutor of Hague Tribunal Carla Del Ponte "would see what really happened and would make the right decision."
"Considering the political, security and economic situation in the country, the early elections are inevitable," leader of the Socialist Party Ljubisav Ivanov - Dzingo said.
THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL CHIEF PROSECUTOR IN MACEDONIA.
Experts teams of the Hague International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia have started an investigation on two cases of war crimes in the Republic of Macedonia, Chief prosecutor of the Tribunal Carla Del Ponte said at the press conference held on Tuesday in Skopje.
"The Tribunal engaged teams that work on data gathering, and I inform you that I have already launched two investigations regarding crimes that occurred in Macedonia," Del Ponte said.
She explained that one of the investigations refers to crimes allegedly committed by the Macedonian security forces, and the second one to crimes committed by the so-called NLA.
Del Ponte expressed satisfaction from the readiness of the high Macedonian officials for cooperation with the Tribunal.
"I expect full support, cooperation and assistance from all relevant authorities, in order the investigation to be completed on time," Del Ponte said.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski at Tuesday's meeting with Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia at The Hague welcomed the quick respond to his letter sent to Del Ponte, where he requested investigators from the Tribunal to be included in the investigation of the alleged mass grave in the region of Neprosteno village.
During the meeting with Trajkovski, Del Ponte announced that representatives of the Tribunal will be involved in the activities for providing evidence on the mass grave, and she expressed her personal assurance that the authorized Macedonian institutions would cooperate with the Tribunal regarding the other cases of violation of the international humanitarian law.
Confirming the Macedonia's readiness to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal, Trajkovski stressed that the prosecutors should not forget the fact that Macedonia was brutally attacked by terrorists and criminals, so the principle of equal guilt between the victims and the attackers should not be applied.
The option for establishing joint committee with representatives from the Macedonian legal institutions and Hague Tribunal was discussed at the meeting. The committee would review prior to the investigation procedure the cases of crimes committed during the crisis in Macedonia.
Today, Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague Carla Del Ponte was also received by Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski.
Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski and Public Prosecutor Stavre Dzikov also attended the meeting. Del Ponte informed Georgievski that she would initiate investigation on war crimes for two cases.
"The first case is against the Macedonian security forces and their entrance in Ljuboten, and the second case is against the Albanian terrorists for the crimes committed in Vejce, when the members of the Macedonian security forces were killed monstrously," reads the announcement from the Premier's cabinet.
Prime Minister Georgievski assessed that such investigation has political connotation and the investigation on only two cases makes the victims and the murderers equal. Therefore Georgievski stressed that the Macedonian Government was unpleasantly surprised with the approach of the Hague Tribunal, which it seemed as an alibi for amnesty of all war crimes made by the Albanian terrorists in the past ten months.
At the meeting Georgievski expressed the readiness to provide all conditions to the experts from The Hague tribunal to conduct the investigation, expecting that their objective work will show that they are not only instruments of the political circles that started the crisis, reads the announcement.
Macedonian Minister of Justice Ixhet Memeti said that bringing of particular criminal charges were not discussed at a meeting with Chief Prosecutor of The Hague Tribunal Carla Del Ponte on Tuesday.
The officials also discussed on Macedonia's cooperation that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia expected "in case of possible criminal charges, brought by The Hague," Memeti said.
"We have also discussed on The Hague Tribunal and its competencies," he added, pointing out the country's legal mechanisms, such as the Law on Criminal Procedure and the European Convention on Extradition, which enable a cooperation of the Macedonian Internal Ministry, the Public Prosecutor's Office and courts with The Hague Tribunal.
Memeti also told Mrs. Del Ponte that an amnesty of the former members of the so-called NLA "is one of the key elements for solving of the crisis in Macedonia."
Today, Mrs. Del Ponte also had a meeting with the European Union special representative to Macedonia, Alain Le Roy, the USA, British, French and German Ambassadors and with other representatives of the Hague Tribunal and NATO in Macedonia.
The issue on mass graves near the village of Neprosteno was discussed at the meeting, French Ambassador Francois Terrell said, responding to journalist question. "But it is too early for drawing of any conclusions", he added.
In regard to the existence of the so-called terrorist organization ANA, Terrell said there were no real information in that respect.
"We know they are extremists, but we do not know their number and power. Therefore, we are very cautious in regard to this phenomena, " Terrell said after the meeting with Del Ponte.
by Christopher Deliso
November 20, 2001
A NEW WAR, OR JUST THE OLD ONE AGAIN?
After September 11th, life has gone on in Macedonia, though the world has taken but little notice. Violence too has continued unabated, though Macedonia's complaints of Albanian terrorism have fallen on deaf ears in the West. The failure to get the NLA labeled as "terrorists" has led to its logical conclusion: the passing of major constitutional capitulations, as envisaged in the treacherous Treaty of Ochrid.
The US has announced, with much fanfare, that the "war on terrorism" will not be a conventional one it is and will be fought militarily, diplomatically, and economically. There was talk immediately after 9/11 that American policy towards Macedonia might actually undergo a complete reversal; evidence that bin Laden and other mujaheedin had connections with the Albanians would seem to justify a more pro-Macedonia position. Yet for all this the US continues to thwart Macedonia, even without the enforcement of most of its relocated NATO troops. And as the dictates of the new "unconventional" war spell out, the war against Macedonia being fought on behalf of the NLA will largely be conducted surreptitiously. The media's recent focus on all things Afghani has aided US duplicity against Macedonia, which is, as usual, utterly helpless.
A PROLOGUE ON SPADES
A few weeks ago at Stanford University, I saw the Indian Consul-General and his Russian counterpart speak out against "terrorism." To a credulous crowd of graying Americans, they bemoaned a common problem: the lack of a commonly understood definition of terrorism. "It's high time," declared Consul Viswanathan, "for us to call a spade a spade, and recognize these people for what they are terrorists."
By "these people," of course, Mr. Viswanathan was referring to the Pakistanis in Kashmir. That this seminar on spades was being used as merely a public relations tool for two powerful US allies was further illustrated by Consul-General Popov's condemnation of "terrorists" in Chechnya. Yet my own write-in question, about why Albanian terrorism in Macedonia has gone unrecognized, was not answered.
Folks, I'm not interested in saying if they're right or wrong. All around the world, one man's sadistic terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. All I want to point is that this hard-fought battle of pens and keyboards (over who deserves the loaded "terrorist" appellation), has enormous consequences for political and military intervention. Indeed, semantic control translates immediately into political power; what might be a useful "spade" for a major power like India or Russia is, for little Macedonia, only a tool to be used for digging its own grave. Yet in this respect, the war was over before it even started.
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH
Macedonia's downfall was set up a long time ago, way back in March 2001. Given US support for the KLA in Kosovo, it was not hard to see how this friendly relationship would be extended southward, in the event of an Albanian uprising against Macedonia. Anything otherwise would have meant the embarrassing admission that the US-instigated war in Kosovo had been an absolute disaster something NATO had not the stomach to admit.
SETTING A PATTERN: MEDIA COVERAGE IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WAR
The most faithful barometer of US policy in the media has traditionally been the New York Times. Last winter, when the "National Liberation Army" first reared its ugly head in Macedonia, the coverage in the Times would prove decisive to Macedonia's fate. Would it win or lose the PR war? Were claims of terrorism justified, and even if they were, would the United States (then happily terrorist-free) even care?
During March 2001, the New York Times covered or mentioned Macedonia in 29 articles and 4 editorials. As always, choice of adjectives was crucial to developing a coherent policy. And so, we find that the NLA was described as "gunmen" (4 times); as "irregulars" (1 time); as "militants" (11 times); as "extremists" (7 times); and as "fighters" (14 times). On 24 occasions, the NLA was linked to an "insurgency;" on 4 others, to a "rebellion." Most telling were the number of times they were described as "ethnic" (64 times), and, most crucial of all, as "rebels" (153 times).
The Times only mentioned the NLA as "terrorists" on 8 occasions. The first (on 3/19) was in reporting the French government's labeling of the NLA as terrorists. The second (3/20), in apparent reaction to the French designation, quoted an NLA commander who said "don't call us terrorists." On the same day, Javier Solana called the NLA "terrorists." Fourth was on 21 March, when the Times referred to the NLA "as a group it (the Macedonian government) calls terrorists." References 5-8 derive from quotes made by Macedonian officials; respectively, President Trajkovski, Spokesman Milososki, Trajkovski again, and National Security Advisor Nikola Dimitrov.
THE WEAPON MACEDONIA WILL NEVER GET
Reviewing the evidence, a general pattern becomes clear. Even in the earliest days of the war, the US media had made up its mind about which side to back. As was noted even then, despite the rhetoric, time would be on the side of armed militants. Although the Times coverage was not then especially pro-NLA, it tolerated the Albanian position well enough by being NLA-neutral, and branding their members as overwhelmingly "ethnic rebels." The maintenance of this neutrality was essential: it allowed a gradual change in the media, towards the unabashed love of the NLA that resulted in Frowick's secret deal in Prizren, the MPRI farce at Aracinovo, and the latest US betrayal, which we will soon discuss.
Perhaps back in March, the reticence of journalists to use the loaded term "terrorists" made the less-accurate "rebels" a more palatable choice for New York Times correspondents. Yet surely, no such reluctance remains now: in the wake of 9/11, the word "terrorists" has been repeated ad nauseam throughout the media. One could not even begin to count the frequency of the word's recent usage: it would be like trying to count the grains of sand on a beach, or the specks of dirt in a freshly-dug grave.
This leads to the obvious conclusion that the word "terrorist" is just another lethal weapon in the arsenals of powerful countries, like Russia, India, and chief of all, the United States. Indeed, it would be an easier task for little Macedonia to develop a comprehensive nuclear weapons program, than for it to acquire this one crucial word for its own defense. The obvious double standard at work, however, has not been lost on some.
Many commentators have latched on to this contradiction the alleged presence of terrorists in Afghanistan, but not in Macedonia. The former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, reiterated it last week. Joseph Farah also commented on the strange dichotomy. Yet perhaps Nebosja Malic, equipped with that perverse Balkan sense of humor, put it best when he said that Macedonia "continues to be framed for its own murder" by NATO and Western diplomats, urging the country to give in to NLA demands and in doing so, show that violence gets results.
MACEDONIA AFTER 9/11 THE CONFLICT SEETHES
One would have thought that, between the onset of colder weather and the embarrassment of being linked to bin Laden, the NLA would have gone on its winter vacation by now. Yet quite the reverse has occurred. Since 9/11, NATO has increased pressure on Macedonia to amnesty the NLA the very individuals who had spent the last few months blowing up police stations, bombing churches, and carving up the bodies of civilians. Under the fiction of being peacefully "disarmed," the NLA (according to NATO) now no longer poses a threat to Macedonian stability. The truth is, the militants merely handed over a few rusty guns, sent the good stuff to Kosovo, and disappeared into the civilian community to reappear, no doubt, when the mountain snows melt next Spring.
Although most of the world has not cared to know, the violence has continued in Macedonia since 9/11. Sporadic gun battles go on still around Tetovo and in western Macedonian villages. If the Macedonian authorities even try to reclaim their territory, like on 1 October, they are shot at. An unexplained car bomb three days later killed one Macedonian. In a miniature version of the "Kosovo scenario" on 17 October, two Albanians were killed by "friendly fire" that is, by rival Albanians. Indeed, if western Macedonia becomes "liberated" (as its neighbor to the north is) such anarchic, fratricidal violence may soon become commonplace.
It was dj vu in Tearce on 22 October, when a police station was bombed a repeat of the very same attack that inaugurated the terrorist campaign in January 2001. Reality Macedonia reported (on 15 November) that the general lawlessness near Kumanovo has resulted in house robberies. On the same day, Albanian gunmen near Tetovo "severely attacked" Macedonian security forces.
Yet for all this, the worst violence in recent weeks may have been orchestrated by an American "diplomat," James Pardew. If the allegations are in fact true, then it is clear that the US is playing a reckless game of Russian roulette, attacking bin Laden affiliates around the world but continuing to defend his former Albanian allies in Macedonia.
On 12 November, three Macedonian policemen were ambushed and killed while attempting to take control of a suspected mass grave. During the firefight, Albanian terrorists also kidnapped 100 Macedonian civilians and held them hostage. It was supposed to be a routine operation; the Macedonian police called in to Pardew and NATO beforehand, giving them explicit details of the operation. It was meant to be coordinated with NATO, completely nonviolent, and Pardew agreed to help.
Yet somehow, it all went wrong. Macedonia's Dnevnik claims that Pardew set up the slaughter. After meeting with the Macedonians, and promising logistical help in cordoning off the area, he hastily met with Albanian-friendly advisors to deliberately sabotage the move:
"The American envoy made his final decision at this meeting: 'No logistics will be sent. We'll leave [the Macedonians] alone, so they can learn their lesson.' Pardew ordered his assistants to instantly inform those in the 'crisis terrain' about the coming of the police, with an added suggestion to prepare a 'welcome.' The epilogue: a black day ending with three killed policemen, two wounded policemen, and about a hundred kidnapped civilians."
WESTERN MEDIA WOLVES SCENT FRESH KILL
This story, of course, is not mentioned in the mainstream media. In what amounted to an apology for the NLA and the Ochrid "peace treaty," a recent Reuters report (16 November), tried to justify Pardew's brazen betrayal:
"Hardline (Macedonian) nationalists had almost wrecked the peace accord days before when the hawkish police minister sent special forces into the rebel Albanian heartland, leading to fighting, arrests and retaliatory kidnappings."
The Reuters reporter, of course, does not explain the reason for the police's visit to the "rebel Albanian heartland." It is all made to seem like yet another oppressive and heavy-handed Macedonian attack on defenseless Albanian civilians. Yet, we must remember how to read such reports. Indeed, it would be more accurate to replace "hardline nationalists" with "patriots," and "peace accord" with "forced capitulation of sovereignty." The level of anti-Macedonian rhetoric present in this report rises to levels not seen since August when the US was comfortably terrorism-free, and able to make blas statements about the need for "confidence-building" measures and "political solutions." Yet in reality, the Macedonians were forced to capitulate by changing their constitution, under the threat of continued violence from US-trained Albanian militants. This would be like giving bin Laden a pen and saying, "go for it, Osama, throw in a new amendment to the US Constitution! Go crazy! Just don't attack us again, please!"
THE NEXT ALBANIAN OFFENSIVE?
Would that a scrap of paper was Macedonia's only problem. Yet the NLA has learned in 2001 that violence gets results and also legitimizes its perpetrators. Now that Ali Ahmeti has become a political personality in his own right, the agenda of terrorism has won out in Macedonia. We should have no illusions, however, that the violence will stop, or the ridiculous claims end. While NATO chooses to look the other way to the fact that criminals and terrorists have assumed political power in Kosovo and Macedonia, the reality that Balkans terrorism is rewarded becomes glaringly obvious.
Given NATO's disinterest, it's no wonder that Macedonia and Serbia are planning new defense cooperation against Albanian terrorists operating on their common border. And, indeed, not a moment too soon:
"Dnevnik daily says a large-scale offensive will be launched by the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, Kosovo and southern Serbia, following the elections in Kosovo on November 17th. Roughly 200 ethnic-Albanian gunmen, NLA members and members of Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) had stationed near Skopje's village of Radusa. The terrorists are to deliver a severe and swift blow on Macedonian security forces at Radusa-Blace region in Macedonia and Strbce-Brezovica region in Kosovo."
MEET THE ALBANIAN NATIONAL ARMY
With the allegedly disarmed NLA now elevated to the level of respectable negotiating partners, and Macedonia's constitutional capitulations made, one would think that the Albanians would be satisfied. Yet what would be the fun of life without terrorism? The NLA, therefore, has metamorphosed beautifully into the ANA the "Albanian National Army." Just as the NLA was once known as the KLA, the slippery shift of nomenclature continues a total farce to everyone with a pulse excepting, of course, Western "peacemakers."
Yet, unlike the "equal rights" posturing of the NLA, its clear from the ANA's own press releases that they will be satisfied with nothing less than complete separation and autonomy:
"All territories where (a) majority of Albanians live, where the Albanians' properties were attacked, massacred and destroyed are declared as forbidden zone for the Macedonian repressive forces, so if they enter would be considered as legitimate targets and would be attacked without any warning."
A BITTER PILL
Western diplomats continue to try and justify their cooperation with Albanian extremists in Kosovo and Macedonia, in the face of all right reason and everything that has been seen in 2001. The acronym is unimportant; whether you call it the KLA, the NLA, the ANA, or the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac, the organization and its goal are one and the same: to create an ethnically homogenous "Greater Albania," at the expense of its neighbors' sovereignty. This is as true now as it was last year, as true as it was in 1878, when the Albanian "League of Prizren" first advocated the idea. After all the unabating violence in Macedonia this year, the US and its allies remain in serious denial (or secret complicity) if they have other beliefs on the matter.
Yet somehow, over the past 10 months, this objective has been forgotten, or concealed. It is especially bitter to recall that early on, the West briefly saw the situation for what it was. Thus EU security chief Javier Solana, back on March 20 ("Macedonia gives rebels ultimatum," New York Times). Speaking about the NLA, Solana declared:
"Nothing, and I mean nothing, will be obtained by violent means it is a mistake to negotiate with terrorists in this particular case, and we do not recommend it."
There is nothing left to say; the betrayal speaks for itself.
Notified Defeat of Stoyanov.
The vote on November 18 was not contested by BSP and UDF, the poor voted against rich.
Petar Stoyanov, Bulgaria' dearest victim of Kostov's regime, was sacrificed on Sunday. In fact the Commander predetermined the election result, in both rounds - on November 11 and 18. With everything he has and has not done from 1997 on. Poverty, notorious Managers & Employees Associations, shady privatization deals, that left thousands jobless and gave leverage to a handful of people from the close entourage, all this weighed like a millstone on Stoyanov. He hasn't distanced himself from them. "Since we lose elections there's no way to say that we were successful politicians", confessed the still incumbent president on Sunday evening. It hasn't become clear why, though. His defeat was notified in advance. Stoyanov hasn't even tried to dissociate himself from the havoc Kostov has wreaked on Bulgaria. The unfinished phrase "Ivan, tell them, they will understand..." boomeranged delivering a heavy blow. In the last month the Bulgarians understood one thing - Petar Stoyanov is the first who put forward the issue of corruption in Kostov's cabinet. However, he hasn't done anything to disclose any of the concrete cases. The president himself admitted that there is only one confidential report of the special services on corruption. And it was commissioned by Kostov, not by him. And there is not a single concrete fact in it, only unsubstantiated accusations against politicians disfavored by the Commander. Thus, consciously or not, Stoyanov sent a clear message to people that he hasn't done anything to root out corruption but covered it up instead. Stoyanov has chosen the wrongest tactics. He put the stake on his high rating and the results of his personal performance. In football there is a hard-and-fast rule - as soon as you start trying to keep the score, you lose the match. That is exactly what Stoyanov has done. His case became unique not only in Bulgaria. He started with a record-breaking credit of 70 percent. And now lost the election. Stoyanov also staked on foreign policy. He assumed all roles of a person indispensable for Bulgaria's accession to NATO, that the PR shamans attributed to him. And that was absurd. The membership in the Alliance does not depend on one individual, but on the economic and social development of the country. If NATO and EU membership depended on one man these organizations wouldn't have existed. The paradox is that the Bulgarians understood it, while Stoyanov hasn't. The analysis of the vote on November 18 shows that the country's wealthy people voted for Stoyanov. And the ratio is 67:31. Which means that if the Bulgarians were well off the president's name would have been Petar Stoyanov. It proves that this vote - same as the previous one on June 17 - has nothing to do with politics or parties, as some are trying to present it. It is purely economic - the poor voted against the rich.
1,000 Cows to Block Downtown Sofia.
Dairymen will sell fresh milk for 0.01 lev per liter in front of the Farm Ministry.
1,000 cows are to block downtown Sofia today. The farmers will bring them by trucks and will deliver 1,200 bottles of milk and offer it at the symbolic price of 0.01 levs per liter in front of the Farm Ministry, said Mincho Minchev, head of the Independent Association of the Dairy Producers. "We ventured on this extreme step, because we wanted the rulers to hear our demands," Zhivko Georgiev, national coordinator of the rally said. "We won't spill the milk, because there are many hungry people. We want to help them under the motto "From socially handicapped to socially handicapped," Georgiev elaborated. The dairymen insist on annual subsidies and minimum purchase prices between 0.35 and 0.45 levs per liter. At present, the purchase prices are 0.28 to 0.35 levs per liter, and during the recent week only prices dropped by 0.05 levs.
Milkmen Brought Cows to Sofia.
Producers sold the milk for the token price of 1 stotinka (0.01 BGL), but reached an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Desperate milk producers protested yesterday in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Sofia downtown where they had brought about 20 cows mounted in trucks. We'll lead the cattle to the highway, block the roads and if this doesn't help, we'll liquidate them, the protesting people said. We insist on fixing of the minimal purchase price of milk, on a year-round subsidies and preferential credits, chairman of the protesting committee Zhivko Georgiev said. He is a coordinator of the Milk Producers' Association. The farmer was looking after 15 cows of which only 6 are left. The prices of milk are falling and we already sell it for 28-35 stotinki per liter. The state subsidy is only 3 stotinki per liter. The Ministry of Agriculture stopped the subsidies, Zhivko Georgiev said. About 50 producers from the regions of Veliko Tarnovo, Shoumen, Stara Zagora and Pazardzhik had arrived. Mincho Minchev, chief of the Association explained that he had to liquidate 170 animals because of poverty. The contact group consisting of 11 producers was received by Vice-Minister Boyko Boev. After about 3 hours the men went out cheered up and said: "The ministry will fulfill all our demands. We reached a consensus".
King's MP: Don't Sell VMZ.
Privatization of the Bearing Plant in Sopot is unprofitable for the state, Nonka Matova maintains.
A few days before sealing the sale's deal for the Bearing's plant in the VMZ-Sopot, NMS deputies required that the negotiations should be cancelled. 'The armory's sell-out piece-by-piece is illogical and the state will suffer only losses,' Nonka Matova, NMS deputy, said in Plovdiv. The dead-line on finalizing the negotiations with the candidate-buyer - Swedish SKF company - expires in early-December. The negotiated price is $15 million. To experts, however, the armory is to face another danger. After the sale of the bearing's plant, the debt of VMZ-Sopot could exceed its assets. As a result, the creditors will have grounds to demand the venture to be declared bankrupt. VMZ is the largest loss-maker of all the companies put in charge of the Economy Ministry, Vice-Premier Nikolay Vassilev said yesterday. However, he added that new contracts were expected till end-year.
Monument to Dimitar Peshev Unveiled.
Israeli ambassador Emmanuel Ziesman yesterday inaugurated a monument to the savior of Bulgarian Jews Dimitar Peshev in his native town of Kyustendil. The 7-ton granite monument was made by local sculptor Mite Choudomirov. Written on the monument are the names of Peshev's four associates who took part in the rescue of 58 000 Jews from the death camps. 14 000 lev were raised for the monument. Attending the inauguration were as well Emil Kalo, chairman of the 'Salom' society, heirs of Peshev and MPs.
Parvanov Leaves BSP and the Parliament.
The party votes for new leader at a congress.
Georgy Parvanov won't return to the parliament as an MP after he was elected president, sources from the BSP headquarters said. In the parliamentary group he will be replaced by Stoyko Tankov, leader of the municipal council of BSP-Bourgas. The winner in the elections freezes his membership in the BSP for the period of his mandate as head of state, he himself said. Parvanov has to retire from the post of a BSP leader, too, immediately after the official results from the elections are announced by CEC. The party will vote for a new leader at a congress.
Bulgaria's President-Elect Vows EU, NATO Push.
Reuters, By Anatoly Verbin
Bulgaria's president-elect Georgi Parvanov, a former Communist, said on Monday he planned to work hard to secure his country's swift entry into the European Union and NATO. "I would like to confirm that we will have maximum continuity in our foreign policy, especially where it concerns European and Euro-Atlantic integration, he told Reuters. It was the first interview to foreign media by the 44-year-old leader of the Socialist Party (BSP) since he beat centre-right incumbent Petar Stoyanov in Sunday's presidential election. Stoyanov, running as an independent, had been a strong advocate of EU and NATO membership. "I would like to say categorically that I will work to speed up talks on membership of the EU and the Alliance, naturally on the basis of meeting their criteria," Parvanov said. He was speaking in his office at BSP headquarters, a large, dilapidated building where activists, clearly tired after a long campaign and a sleepless night, congratulated each other. The president has limited powers at home but is Bulgaria's face abroad. Bulgaria, a laggard in EU entry talks along with neighbouring Romania, hopes to join the union in 2006. It is also seeking an invitation next year to join NATO. Some diplomats have floated an idea recently that instead of granting immediate membership to a small group of NATO aspirant countries next year, a bigger group -- up to seven -- would be invited to start membership talks but would only be made full members after meeting all the criteria laid down. Parvanov said that would be "a minimal programme", adding he hoped for outright NATO membership. "I sincerely hope Bulgaria will get a real membership next year. For us it is not simply a recognition, but also an important guarantee of our security in the constant tension of the Balkans," he said. Stoyanov, 49, conceded defeat on Sunday after a close run-off vote. First official partial results gave Parvanov 52 percent of the vote, against 48 for Stoyanov. Parvanov, a soft-spoken former historian, has succeeded in striking a balance between reforming the former Communist Party into a modern social democratic party -- which he has headed since 1996 -- and keeping its core electorate of elderly ex-communists satisfied. He said he admired such social democratic leaders abroad as French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Albania's Ambassador Sent Back from Boundary Checkpoint.
'Nissan Patrol' declared on national retrieval, was sent back from the boundary checkpoint in Gueshevo the day before yesterday. Albania's ambassador Avmi Dzhelali was travelling with the jeep. The jeep wasn't with diplomatic licence plate. Driver Arthur Vila drove the car. The jeep was stopped at the checkpoint because of a telegram from the Boundary Police Office in Sofia. The car was intrusted to safe-keeping in the Albanian embassy. The jeep was stolen in 1998 from the parking lot of the embassy. Then it was resold. The last buyer is the embassy again.
Simeon to Meet Berlusconi.
PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will most probably meet his Italian colleague Silvio Berlusconi tete-a-tete in the period November 21-24. The two of them will take part in the meeting of CEFTA member countries in Trieste. All day long a confirmation from Berlusconi's office was expected yesterday. Separate meeting of CEFTA Foreign and Economic Ministers is also scheduled.
Sofiyanski'll Inform About His New Party Tomorrow.
Sofia mayor will announce the founders, formation's name, program and statute.
I will give details about the new party, its name, and its ideological platform, on Wednesday, said Sofia mayor Stephan Sofiyanski for 'Standart'. He's expected also to announce the founding-members, the program and the rules. So far the only information is that the party will be center-right oriented and its name will comprise the words 'democracy' and 'freedom'. 'The persons, I start with now, are not directly committed with the institutions, Sofiyanski elaborated. The first task of the new party will be to win the mayor's office in Rousse, Blagoevgrad and Sliven in the local elections after several months. Sofiyanski - one of the forerunners of the UDF, has left the party a fortnight ago.
Kostov's Talibans on the Offensive.
Ekaterina Mihailova revived a totalitarian tradition - war against enemy with a party card.
What does a person do if he doesn't want to admit his wrongs and shoulder the responsibility for them? He earmarks someone as a victim and proclaims him an enemy. Then shifts the blame. This is exactly what Ekaterina Mihailova did on the election day's night. She pointed her finger at Bakardzhiev (ex-vice premier and leader of the largest UDF organization, that in Sofia). She demanded his resignation and tried to label him as an enemy with a party card. The way they do it in totalitarian parties only. On Sunday she announced that there is one person in the UDF who is to blame for the Stoyanov's woeful results - the leader of the UDF-Sofia. The same man whom both Ekaterina Mihailova and the still incumbent president pleaded fervently for help to widen the margin between Stoyanov and Parvanov. And to save the president the disgrace of losing to Stoyanov by a margin of 20 percent, as the pollsters predicted. Bakardziev was proclaimed the enemy not because of Stoyanov. Rather because for one year already he keeps repeating to both Ekaterina Mihailova and Ivan Kostov that they have a duty to the people and the state. And there are grave mistakes that should have made them leave the scene. He was stigmatized because he told them straight in the eye that instead of helping Stoyanov they work to his detriment.
Team of "Standart"
NEC Jibbed at the Class Mistress.
Ekaterina Mihailova threatens Bakardzhiev with expulsion, the UDF leadership refuses her at a covert session.
Ekaterina Mihailova gave up insisting on the expulsion of Evgenii Bakardzhiev from the UDF. At a covert session of the National Executive Council, held yesterday, she was talked out of it by all who attended the meeting. "It is not the right time," the members of the council decided ultimately. "I have more serious problems to settle," Ekaterina Mihailova answered on leaving to the question of "Standart", concerning the expulsion of Bakardzhiev. She was obviously angry. Only few hours after the elections were over on Sunday, Ekaterina Mihailova threatened Evgenii Bakardzhiev with expulsion for the reason that he "spoke against the party". The leader of the UDF-Sofia said earlier that the party should radically change its conduct and leadership. "Till February I'll work strenuously for the reformation of the UDF," the UDF-Sofia leader promised. The annual meeting of the UDF is fixed for February 7, next year. Nadezhda Mihailova (ex-foreign minister and the now leader of the UtdDF PG) is a good option for a UDF leader," Bakardzhiev maintained. To him, two thirds of NEC should consist of new and unblemished people.
BGL 600 Mln. on Farming Next Year.
Over 600 million levs will be allotted for agriculture in 2002. 'We aim to support the development of the rural regions in line with the EU standards and to make competitive the Bulgarian farm products and food industry, Deputy-Minister of Agriculture Adriana Soukova-Tosheva said yesterday. Some 106 million euro allocated under the SAPARD program should be put to use.
The UDF Leaders Helped Choose the President.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Bogomil Bonev
Leader of Civic Party for Bulgaria.
- Mr Bonev, was the November 18 vote punitive or people assessed Georgi Parvanov's personal qualities?
- At any rate people also assessed some of Parvanov's qualities. But most of all it was a punitive vote against Peter Stoyanov, against the UDF, against this particular policy.
- A little earlier Mr Bakardzhiev said that the report Stoyanov produced hadn't helped him and that there will be talk on the document only now. The report didn't contain the names of deputy ministers who are awaiting trial now.
- This is true. There aren't such names. There are no names of people from the entourage of Kostov himself. There is nothing about the 'Olympus' circle. There isn't anything about some groupings. Many things are absent. No one has soiled his hands. The campaign will be remembered solely with that discrediting material. It will turn into a reading-book example on how a campaign shouldn't be conducted.
- What about the road of the UDF henceforth?
- New faces. The loss brought the so far faces a complete fiasco. It is the biggest political fiasco which even I hadn't expected. Things can't go on like this any longer. Generally speaking, reforming processes are needed in the center and to the right. And if the present UDF leaders, as well as the still incumbent president Peter Stoyanov have retained at least a little of the 'democrat' concept, they have to give way to new people.
- You indirectly supported Parvanov in the second round of the voting. Do you feel you personally contributed to his election?
- It is the UDF leadership and personally Peter Stoyanov to have contributed to Parvanov's election. They feared too much that Bogomil Bonev might take part in the second round and they got Parvanov. This is the problem.
ZAFIROPOULOS' MEETING WITH THE RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER.
Athens, 20 November 2001 (16:40 UTC+2)
The good climate that exists between Greece and Russia and the prospect to expand cooperation to the political, economic and trade sector were confirmed in the meeting Russian deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko had in Athens this morning with Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Yiannis Zafiropoulos.
Mr. Zafiropoulos and Ms. Matvienko agreed that before the visit of Russian President Putin to Athens in December the proposals for the signing of four agreements concerning the sea and air transportation, as well as energy issues and the establishment of cultural centers will have to be ready.
Ms. Matvienko reiterated Russia's interest in supplying Greece with natural gas in addition to the Russian interest in the construction of energy and other networks in the Balkans. Responding to a question by a reporter on whether natural gas affects the oil agreement, the Russian official stated that they are two separate procedures. However, she expressed Russia's discontent concerning the progress made in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, stressing that it does not move fast enough. She stated that Russia is not satisfied with the progress made in the project, adding that Bulgaria's cooperation should become more constructive.
Russia says time to deal with Kosovo's problems.
MOSCOW, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Russia, saying Kosovo's Serbs had seen little benefit from 2-1/2 years of international supervision, on Tuesday urged the United Nations to get down to dealing with the province's problems.
A Foreign Ministry statement welcomed the high participation of Kosovo's ethnic minority Serb population in Saturday's election, in which the moderate Democratic League of Kosovo came first but won less of the vote than expected.
But it said parties representing ethnic Albanians, the overwhelming majority in the province, had put calls for independence ahead of resolving Kosovo's difficulties.
"Non-Albanian residents are concerned that under nearly 2-1/2 years of international supervision, no solution has been found to the problems of security, the return of refugees and access to elementary aspects of civilised society -- education, health care, culture and information," it said.
"The main responsibility for moving the process of settlement forward lies with international bodies, primarily the U.N. mission which must fulfil its obligation...in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244."
The statement recalled that the resolution governing the U.N.'s supervision of Kosovo upheld the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, including formal jurisdiction over the province.
European Union and other officials have said since the vote that they do not favour independence.
Kosovo has been functioning as a de facto U.N. protectorate since 1999, after an 11-week U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign led to a halt of punitive Yugoslav measures against Kosovo's Albanians and the introduction of peacekeepers.
Russia denounced the NATO action against Serbia, Moscow's traditional Slav and Orthodox ally, but contributed troops to the peacekeeping force. Moscow has repeatedly complained that insufficient measures have been taken since 1999 to protect Kosovo's Serb population.
EU rejects Kosovo poll winner's call for independence.
By Stephen Castle in Brussels
20 November 2001
Western elation at the election success of moderates in Kosovo was undermined on Monday when European Union foreign ministers clashed with the poll's victor over his pursuit of independence for the province.
At a meeting in Brussels, the ministers welcomed the peaceful and orderly elections in Kosovo and diplomats said they were particularly heartened by indications that a reasonable proportion of Serbs took part. But in a clear sign of difficulties to come, they rejected statements from Ibrahim Rugova, the new Albanian leader, that his main priority would be the pursuit of independence.
Mr Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo won slightly more than 46 per cent of the vote, giving him a clear mandate to lead the province but denying him the overwhelming margin to rule alone.
The Democratic Party of Kosovo, led by the former rebel leader Hashim Thaci, gained 25.5 per cent of the vote and a coalition representing Kosovo's minority Serbs finished with marginally less than 11 per cent.
Mr Rugova is a moderate who stood out as a figurehead of peaceful opposition to Slobodan Milosevic, the former president, and who has long espoused the goal of independence supported by the majority of ethnic Albanians. But his call for an independent Kosovo received a dusty response in Brussels.
Louis Michel, the Foreign Minister of Belgium, which holds the EU presidency, said "Our position has not changed. We do not favour independence."
Jaime Gama, the Portu-guese Foreign Minister, said that the UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo, which envisages wide autonomy for the territory but within the Yugoslav federation, should remain the guide to dealing with the province.
He added that any change in the position had to come through a direct dialogue between Belgrade and the province in other words, "always through dialogue". The issue of the status of Kosovo is highly sensitive in the region because of its implications for other ex-Yugoslav provinces.
Western leaders are nervous about the potential of a move towards independence in Kosovo fearing it will destabilise neighbouring Macedonia and muddy the debate over the future of Montenegro, a republic within Yugoslavia.
Nevertheless, Western diplomats acknowledge that the final status of Kosovo cannot be delayed indefinitely and Mr Rugova's comments have stoked pressure for the issue to be confronted.
One EU official said: "Clearly, this is an issue that will have to be addressed in the medium term but there is plenty for those newly established institutions to be getting on with: the important thing is that those institutions should work and for everybody to respect them."
One EU foreign minister hinted a rethink on the province was already under way. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Austrian Foreign Minister, said Mr Rugova "knows very well the international community is against independence" but she added: "We have to sit down and really consider what could be a solution but I am not in favour of independence as such."
Earlier, Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy high representative, urged Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders to adhere to the UN Security Council resolution. "It will take all their energy and creativity to ensure a prosperous and stable development of Kosovo which safeguards the interest of all communities," he said.