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Friday.

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Incompetent Drivers Block Sofia. Tens of car accidents blocked the traffic in Sofia yesterday. Wet snow and low visibility caused heavy traffic jams in the center of the capital. Torrential rain all over the country turned into snow in the morning. On the photo: Two cars crashed after the first snowflakes on 'Evlogi Georgiev' and 'Madrid' blvds. Photo Nelly Nikolova (SB)

How It Looks From America: Macedonia In 2001 And Beyond.

Aktuel, #37

By Christopher Deliso

It has been a long year for Macedonia, and a strange one. For friends of Macedonia like myself, it has also been the cause for much dismay. Trying to get anyone in the US to pay attention to Macedonia has been about as effective as talking to a brick wall. Nevertheless, the fact that the NLA has had only limited popularity in America owes in part, I hope, to our efforts. It also owes to the fact that few Americans have any interest in events 5,000 kilometers away. However, after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there is a new curiosity about the world among Americans, and with any luck the Macedonian crisis will become more visible in 2002.

There's not much support for the NLA in America.

Although last winters NLA "rebellion" was not a big surprise, all things considered, it still came as unsettling proof that the Albanian militants in Macedonia were both fearless and brazen enough to believe they could get away with it. Perhaps they believed that previous US support in Kosovo would translate into military intervention in Macedonia. Although in the end they did not get the active and robust support that the KLA did two years before, they were favored, and have continued to be aided, by the US and NATO.

The reasons for this support were not always clear, even to the Albanians. Since 1999, the tremendous amount of anti-Serbian and anti-Macedonian rhetoric coming from the Western media has been used as a propaganda tool, particularly by the British and American governments, to "sell" the wars to their citizens. Consequently, Albanians were extolled and lauded excessively- but not because the US had any real love for them. Those photos of Bill and Hilary Clinton kissing babies in Kosovo epitomized the farce. Rather, the medias support for the Albanians has only served to help Western leaders justify the real military, economic and political goals behind it. This reality, however, was lost on many Albanians, both in Kosovo and Macedonia. The former expected that Kosovo would be made independent following the 1999 bombing campaign, and the latter assumed that NATO might even bomb Macedonia to help them. As the Albanians discovered that the American love affair was only a dream, they became a potential threat to their former allies. And so in Kosovo, US troops cowered in the relative luxury of Camp Bondsteel, rather than chase down the gun-runners and guerrillas trying to cross the Macedonian border. In Macedonia, the new fear of the Albanians has caused the US to go along with all of their demands- lest they might perhaps open fire on NATO.

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Mrs. Hillary Clinton doing a dignified photo op with Albanian refugees from Kosovo in Macedonia camp. Notice the contrast with the chuckling woman in the back.

The Albanian lobby in the United States.

The Albanians do, however, have real supporters in the US. The Albanian lobby in Washington is strong, and led by two groups in particular: the Albanian-American Civic League (AACL), and the National Albanian-American Council (NAAC). The AACL is run by Joe DioGuardi, a disgraced former congressman, and his wife, Shirley Cloyes-DioGiuardi. Their website (aacl.com) blatantly shows a picture of an idealized "Greater Albania," incorporating parts of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. The AACL has been a major fundraiser for Albanian ventures abroad, and has contacts with other, less peaceful, Albanian groups: for example, the AACL was involved in a 1999 rally in Washington, where it marched with the KLA and the militant "Homeland Calling" group. This organization sent fighters to Kosovo in 1999, and more recently it sent volunteers to fight for the NLA.

A New York Times article (March 19, 2001) chronicled a typical Albanian fundraising event. At a bar in New York, $500,000 was raised in one night at a private party. The newspaper quoted Dervish Jahjaga, editor of the Albanian-American newspaper (Bota Sot), as supporting a war on Macedonia. In attendance were representatives of the NLA, who recruited several Americans to fight for them. Now, in the aftermath of September 11th, it would be very interesting to know how these men feel about having fought on the same side as bin Laden’s imported mujaheedin.

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DioGuardi, Cloyes, and the map of Greater Albania, swalowing parts of neighboring countries' territories from their site.

The Albanian-American lobbyist groups are both well-organized and well-funded, and they have the ear of influential lawmakers like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Congressman Eliot Engel of New York, and former Kansas senator Bob Dole. The powerful Arizona senator John McCain has also been strongly pro-Albanian in the past. The entire Clinton administration, it should go without saying, was behind the Albanians in Kosovo.

Macedonia, unfortunately, does not have similar legislative influence in the US. It does not have the same high profile defenders in Congress, and it does not have powerful lobbyists, either. With limited political options in the US, Macedonia’s only chance is to gain media recognition and public sympathy- something which has not happened so far.

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Senator Dole and DioGuardi on a pro-Albanian rally with 10,000 participants in Washington, D.C. July 1990.

The Western media clamps down on Macedonia.

Rather, an increasingly ominous pattern has been visible in the Western media’s Macedonia coverage. What began as a cautious position of neutrality towards the NLA became, by August, downright cheerleading. While in the beginning of the war the NLA had been called "terrorists" by EU security chief Javier Solana, and "murderous thugs" by NATO boss Lord Robinson, these appellations were quickly forgotten in favor of more romantic names like "ethnic rebels" and "freedom fighters." The Macedonians, on the other hand, became known as "angry Slavs," or worse. Amazingly, after each and every outrage against Macedonia- Frowick’s secret deal with the NLA at Prizren, the bombing of Leshok Monastery, the American MPRI "advisors" spirited out of Arachinovo, and others, each ensuing Macedonian protest was dealt with more and more harshly by the media and Western diplomats. And so those very events which clearly proved the legitimacy of Macedonia’s complaints were ignored, or even worse, denied.

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CNN's reporting on the early stages of the war (March2001). Important details ommited: the victim, an ethnic Albanian citizen of Republic of Macedonia, was killed by those who shoot at the city from the hills - the Albanian terrorists.

The NLA, masters of rhetoric.

But these things do not just happen by themselves. The Albanians have proved themselves to be masters when it comes to manipulating Western rhetoric. By referring to ideals which resonate strongly in the West, such as "human rights," "democracy," and "self-determination," the NLA has been able to fool the world into believing that its struggle is legitimate. While it’s clear that this has been a war funded by organized crime, the NLA has made things seem quite different. Using rhetorical speeches, well-crafted statements, and even suggestive media like photographs of "ethnic villagers" being driven from their homes, the NLA has run a slick and successful operation. They have known just how to push the right buttons to get the right responses from the West- which was sympathetically predisposed towards them anyway from the beginning.

Macedonia, on the other hand, has been clumsy in its diplomatic dealings with the West. All too often, Macedonians have come across as angry and unintelligent- providing great opportunities for an already hostile media to capitalize on. Furthermore, Macedonian policy has seemed self-contradictory- for example, in the praising of NATO action in Kosovo, while at the same time criticizing NATO’s work in Macedonia. Even if Macedonia is a small and vulnerable country, it has to take a stand on one side or the other if it wants to maintain credibility.

Why cynical appeals get results.

In general, the Albanian strategy has been to appeal to popular Leftist ideas of ethnic equality and affirmative action. This is the policy, born of the 1960’s, which saw the US give special benefits to African-Americans to make compensations for over 200 years of slavery. The Albanians argue that they are persecuted "second-class citizens" in Macedonia, and that they cannot get treated equally through existing political structures, because they are in the minority. Therefore, says the NLA, it must fight in order to win political benefits for the minority.

In this, however, the NLA has both appealed to the democratic traditions of the West, and rejected them. Democracy, according to all definitions, is the rule of the majority. The Albanians, while claiming to want democratic reform, only seem to want it in areas where they are the majority- for example, Tetovo. As long as Albanians are the minority in Macedonia as a whole, they will continue to insist that democracy can’t work for them- and instead take "affirmative action" type benefits, whether by negotiation or by force.

Yet if Albanians someday become the majority in Macedonia (as current high birth rates indicate), then at that time you can bet they will declare democracy to be the best political system ever created. The fact that the NLA has been able to both seduce the West through appeals to "democracy," while at the same time denouncing it through its violent actions, is the most outrageous aspect of the whole conflict. It is a public relations masterpiece, and one that Macedonia should study carefully for the future. For when the war starts up again next Spring (as it surely will), Macedonia will need to be well-equipped, not just militarily, but also diplomatically. It will need to calmly and carefully expose where Albanian motivations are self-contradictory, while at the same time removing grounds for contradiction in Macedonia’s own diplomatic initiatives.

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NLA members stopping wehicles on the occupied territory.

Reform and reality.

Around the world, American attempts to force their values on others are resented. Yet Americans often cannot understand why this should be so. These efforts are often most dangerous when carried out by idealistic and well-intentioned individuals. American political and social ideals, products of the Enlightenment, are just that- ideals. They are not always reality. In America, ethnic equality does not always exist, but many other social problems do. If wonderful ideals of "democracy," "human rights," and "freedoms" run into difficulties in the most powerful, most stable country in the world, what chance do they have of working in a small, war-torn country like Macedonia?

Often, Americans fail to understand two things: one, that any such reforms must be introduced slowly; and two, that it is none of their business in the first place to tell other nations what they must do. Forcing through reform quickly in Serbia and Macedonia is a very dangerous idea, and one which only serves to anger the Serbian and Macedonian peoples- who, after all, did not ask for this "help."

In short, trying to implement one universal system of political and social ideals is not only chauvinistic, it is foolhardy. It ignores the tremendous differences that exist in different cultures, and attempts to reduce them out of existence- which is, at bottom, completely antithetical to the "multiculturism" it sets out to enhance.

Yet American policymakers compare Macedonia and the US, with the attitude that, "if it works in the US, it should work in Macedonia." However, there are many crucial differences. The US is a large, politically stable, wealthy country, whose inhabitants come from all over the world. Even if these immigrants keep their social or religious identities, they all assimilate where it counts- economically. The "American dream" of gaining material wealth still serves, as it has for two centuries, as the great common unifier of the American people. In any case, the country is so large, and so stable, that any minority movements are insignificant in a country of almost 275 million people.

In addition, the US is aided by the fact that it has both friendly neighbors and a short history. There are no plans to create a "Greater Canada," and ethnic tensions have simply not had the time to develop, as they have in the rest of the world, into the kind of tangled and irresolvable problems well-known in the Middle East and the Balkans. In short, the US is one of the only countries where such a noble political experiment can be carried out with a reasonable degree of success.

Not one of these basic American qualities is shared by Macedonia. It is a small, weak, politically insecure country, surrounded by potentially hostile neighbors. And although it has a short history as an independent nation, the real history of Balkan human interaction is endless. With a population of only 2 million, any hostile actions by sizeable minority are bound to cause great chaos. The Albanians claim to constitute 30 percent of the country; if an 83 million-strong American minority group attempted to secede, you can bet there would be a strong and immediate reaction from the government.

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The current U.S. President George W. Bush and Joe DioGuardi, Albanian lobbyist and former Congressman.

What does the future hold for Macedonia?

Although the coffee cup is hard to read, a few predictions seem likely. If war breaks out again in Spring 2002, it seems clear that Macedonia will be forced to make more capitulations to the Albanian side. It seems unlikely that the West will ever intervene decisively against any Albanian terrorist group- it is just too dangerous, and the prospect of casualties make any such operation seem not worthwhile. This is compounded especially by the expectation that the US government will soon have to start explaining American casualties in Afghanistan. Casualties in Macedonia also would be too much for the Republican party of George W. Bush, which takes a generally isolationist stance on world affairs.

By the time the West realizes that Albanian demands will never end, it may be too late. Like spoiled children, the Albanian negotiators will keep complaining that their "rights" are being denied them- and they will have the firepower of the NLA/ANA as leverage. The general trend with Western diplomacy is to avoid embarrassment at all costs, and indeed, to completely deny making any mistakes. In this sense, Macedonia suffers because of Kosovo. Western leaders do not want to admit that supporting the KLA/NLA has been a disaster- because it implies that all of the actions leading up it, including the Kosovo campaign, and the earlier anti-Serbian interventions, were fundamentally flawed. Pulling one thread would indeed unravel the whole cloak; but the emperor does not wish to be seen standing naked.

STATEMENTS OF NEW MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

MIA

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The new post offers a possibility to give my contribution in restoring stability in the crisis region, newly appointed Vice-Premier of Macedonia Dosta Dimovska stated Friday.

"If I am to chair the Crisis Management Body, as Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski has already announced, than I am to face a very serious task, because establishing of control and re-entry of the security forces, in coordination with NATO, OSCE, EU and US, will require a 24-hour work," Dimovska said.

We should also work on providing conditions for returning of the displaced persons to their homes, Dimovska added.

"Care for this persons is the Government's obligation and in the next period the Crisis Management Body should intensify its activities in providing two crucial conditions - stabilization of the crisis region and reconstruction of their homes," Dimovska said.

She also expressed hope that the cooperation between the Body and the Interior Ministry would be much better than it was with a former chairman of the Body Ilija Filipovski from the party SDSM.

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After the appointment of Vlado Popovski as the Macedonian Defense Minister he said that this function "in this short, but complex period" would enable him to make a contribution towards resolving of the current crisis in the country.

According to him, the Ministry of Defense has three main tasks.

"We should reintegrate Macedonia's territory, to calm down the situation in the country and to restore the citizens' confidence in the security defense forces. We should define the defense structures quickly and clearly, taking into consideration the forthcoming risks and to continue or eventually speed up the dynamics of Macedonia's integration into NATO," Popovski stressed.

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"Macedonian Foreign Ministry will make maximum efforts so Republic of Macedonia can become fully fledged member of the European community," newly appointed Foreign Minister Slobodan Casule stated Friday.

He believes that after the negotiations with the European Union were successfully completed and the Stabilization and Association Agreement was signed, the agreed should be implemented.

In this moment, according to Casule, "Macedonia will face even harder times, but with the entrance in this Government we can help to our country to consolidate its international position and to be integral part of the European Union and the international community."

"In this short time that is left to this Government, we should first eliminate the crisis, by restoring the confidence of the citizens," Casule stated.

He assessed the situation in the Macedonian diplomacy as "very delicate" and expressed his assurance that plan will be developed, which will be approved by the Parliament and all deputies will support it.

Asked whether he had any remarks about the Macedonian Ambassadors abroad, Casule underlined that "the primary task of this Ministry was to adopt Law on Foreign Affairs." The application of foreign diplomacy's regulations and the strict criteria will improve the quality of Macedonian representatives abroad," Casule said.

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The Ministry of Health will focus on reforms, as there have been no constructive changes in health care for a long period, newly appointed Minister of health Gjorgi Orovcanec said Friday.

"Neither patients nor medical workers are satisfied with the current situation in the sphere of health care. The working conditions must be improved, which will bring benefit to the patients," Orovcanec said.

Orovcanec expressed conviction that the acute problems in the sphere of health care would be solved immediately.

NEW MEMBERS OF MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT APPOINTED.

MIA

Macedonian Assembly on Friday elected the new members of the Macedonian Government and appointed new deputy ministers.

With 75 votes "for," one "abstain" and 30 "against" Vlado Popovski was elected as Defense Minister, while Slobodan Casule was appointed as new Foreign Minister with 73 votes "for," 2 "abstain" and 27 "against."

Gjorgji Orovcanec will be the new Health Minister with 78 votes "for," five "abstain" and 20 "against," while Dosta Dimovska will be a minister without portfolio with 75 votes "for," 6 "abstain" and 26 "against."

The newly appointed members of the Government made a formal vow.

The Assembly dismissed Zoran Teofilovski and appointed Trajko Veljanovski as new deputy minister of Justice.

Aljosa Begovski is appointed as deputy minister of economy, Stojan Damcevski as deputy minister of culture, Zivko Jovanov as deputy minister of transport and communications and Asip Asipi as deputy minister of education and science.

PM GEORGIEVSKI EXPLAINS PROPOSAL ON APPOINTING NEW GOVERNMENTS MEMBERS.

MIA

Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski explained the Proposal for appointing new members of the Government as well as the Proposal for appointing deputy ministers at the 94th Assembly session.

He stressed that he considered this new Government as continuation of the previous one, as this was only reconstruction.

"The primary goal of this Government is to create conditions for peace and stability in Macedonia and to fulfill the obligations arising from the Framework Agreement," Georgievski said, adding that if everything was according to the schedules the Agreement could be fully implemented, there would be peace, stability and reintegration of the Macedonias territory and the refugees would return to their homes.

PM Georgievski stressed that the Government would also continue the reforms in the country.

In that respect he appealed to all political parties, those participating in the Government as well as those that do not, to contribute for accomplishing the goal peace, stability and reintegration of the country.

The Prime Minister emphasized that he has proposed persons that are less likely to cause internal disunity in the Government. "These persons would make the government firmer as we have big goal in front of us," Georgievski stressed, urging the deputies to support the Proposal in order to resolve the dark crisis as soon as possible.

Coordinator of SDSM parliamentary group Nikola Popovski stated the position of the group that it would remain in opposition of the new Government, stressing that they would not vote for the new ministers.

There Won't Be Extra Christmas Salaries.

Standartnews

Pensioners will get 20 levs bonuses for the coming holidays.

The budget subsidized employees will be left without extra Christmas salaries, the government finally decided yesterday. There isn't any money for a 13th salary or an addition to the regular salary for people employed in the budget sphere, vice-premier Lidia Shouleva said. If a myracle happens, and this will hardly be possible, we may find money for a 13th salary or part of it, finance minister Milen Velchev explained. Only pensioners will get 20 levs for Christmas. For this purpose the budget will allocate 48 million levs. This is the thing we can afford, Velchev said further. The Christmas addition will be paid together with the December pension. 111 million levs will be granted to the municipalities for delayed payments, the ministers also decided. 32 million will be used for due social allowances. Another portion will go for unpaid salaries, insurances and medicines.

Evgeni Genov
Victoria Serafimova

(SB)

Prince Cyril: Investors Turned to Bulgaria.

Standartnews

The investors paid special attention to Bulgaria, because in recent months a lot was done to promote its image, said Prince Cyril before the general meeting of the Bulgarian Employers Union (BEU). He is the honorary chairman of the Union. To him, the recession in Western Europe will create an opportunity to boost Bulgaria's export. 'There is a risk the relations between the business and power to be Berov-ized (at the time of the government of Prof.Berov it was said that oligarchy governs this country, editor's note)," said BEU chairman Vassil Vassilev. The BEU members insist upon drafting an entirely new Labour Code. They want the cabinet to take measures to stimulate crediting of investments projects. Businessmen voiced their hope that amendments to the Public Procurements Act will be adopted, giving preferences to Bulgarian firms. The employers ask to have one meeting monthly with the premier at the least. 80 private Bulgarian ventures are members of the Union and their total turnout exceeds 2.5 billion levs. Together they provide jobs for 150,000 workers.

Nevena Mircheva

Genderme Soldiers To Guard Motorways.

Standartnews

Milena Orozova

Genderme soldiers will guard the motorways and roads of the country, chief of the National Service 'Gendermery' colonel Zhivko Zhivkov said yesterday. He took part in a seminar on traffic safety. The genderme soldiers will help policemen and the road police, he specified. One-third of the death toll along the roads of Bulgaria are the result of clashes with stationary objects, colonel Alexi Kessyakov, chief of 'Road Police' with DNSP. We are the only country in the world where the percentage of drivers clashing with trees and poles is so high.

(SB)

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New Law To Reshuffle Special Services.

Standartnews

Fresh debates on whether to make the generals subordinate to the CM, MPs will ask the CIA how it exchanges information with the FBI.

Nadelina Aneva

The drafting of a law of the special services to be voted in the NA this February is in full swing, Stanimir Ilchev, chief of the foreign policy commission announced. There are three optional decisions as to whom the generals should be subordinate. The first one is to preserve the so far accepted configuration - the NIS (National Intelligence Service) to be directly subordinate to the president, and the other two - to the CM. According to the other option, the special services may report to the CM or the president may be authorized to monitor the NIS and NSS. My personal feeling is that the hitherto practices will be preserved, Ilchev added. Experts from the two power ministries are said to have been actively working on another pending issue - who is to take care of the security of information in the NIS. They will ask the CIA whether it guarantees the FBI information, or the FBI has its own department in charge of this.

(SB)

Lower Gas Prices Negotiated with Russia.

Standartnews

In two months negotiations with Gasprom are to start "Kremikovtsi" and "Chimko" will contact directly with the supplier, an MP said.

The methods to fix the prices of the natural gas, which "Bulgargas" buys from "Gasprom", will be recontracted, NMS deputy Dimitar Lambovski said yesterday. The changes are envisaged in the amendments to the Energy Act which was submitted to the parliament at a second reading yesterday. Thus the monopoly of "Bulgargas" will be broken and the Bulgarian markets for natural gas will be liberalized. The new Act lets all the big consumers to negotiate direct supplies of the raw material, using the transporting network of Bulgargas. The amendments to the Energy Act allow the big companies, such as "Kremikovtsi", the fertilizers producing plants, heating supply stations to seal deals directly with Gasprom and Gasexport or other foreign suppliers. Many of the Bulgarian enterprises are in poor financial circumstances because of the unfavourable prices. This is why it is an imperative that the negotiations with Russian supplier "Gasprom" should start in two months, Lambovski said further. The premier in person is authorized to take this step.

Victoria Seraphimova

(ML)

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2001 - Year of Surprises.

Standartnews

USA - the invulnerable force was badly wounded, in Bulgaria the former King became the prime minister, Stoyanov followed Kostov off the political scene, blissful time came for historian Parvanov.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Boyan Dourankev

If you saw the film "2001: Space Odyssey" you will immediately understand what makes it different from reality. According to the film, in the beginning of the new century the humanity will be preoccupied mainly with contacts with other civilizations. Nothing of what has been expected came true, though. Today the mankind is not interested in space contacts, but rather in contacts between human civilizations. Most probably this came as a surprise even to Huntington himself. This, however, is not the only prognosis that hasn't proved true. People expected that 2001 will be the year of the universal reason, flourishing science and education. What happened is just the opposite. Now are really flourishing all kinds of religions, narcomania, crime, mysticism, astrology, ignorance, political fraud, Islamic fundamentalism, arrogance of the rich and feeling of doom in two-thirds of the world's population. The culture is reduced to figures like Eminem and Shamara. Profits are privatized. Losses are nationalized. All prognoses predicted rapid growth in the USA and Western Europe. However, the "Brave New World" remained a Utopia, at least for now. The USA - this invulnerable force - was wounded. Badly and in plain view of the whole world. All prognoses were smashed to smithereens along with the futurologists. In defiance of everything in Bulgaria all of the prognoses proved almost right. According to them the UDF had to have a landslide election victory and the new president's name had to be Petar Stoyanov. Guess what happened? Yes, the UDF suffered a landslide defeat, while Stoyanov will keep office till end-year. On the other hand, the man whom no one took into account remained the King (of ambiguity) but became the prime minister, thus confusing the account totally. If a rope has one end then for sure it will have the other, too. The other person, whom not only no one took into account, but he himself didn't even think of it, crossed swords with "Our President". Stoyanov followed Kostov's off the political scene, while Sofianski stepped aside. Blissful time has come for historians like Parvanov!

(MG)

Icon of Cyril and Methodius Painted for the Pope.

Standartnews

Silvia Nikolova

Believers from all religions in Bulgaria are getting ready for the visit of Pope John Paul II in May next year. The Israeli Religious Council has planned a meeting of all Jews from the country with Pope John Paul II, chairman Yossif Levi announced. The meeting will take place in the Synagogue in Sofia. However, the rules do not allow the presence of a clerical from another religion in the synagogue, and for this reason the Pope will attend only the meeting with the believers. For the time being the community considers the possibility of presenting him with the traditional Jewish menorah. An icon of the saint brothers Cyril and Methodius painted by synodycal painter Nikolai Shalahov will be the most likely gift of Patriarch Maxim for the Pope, metropolitans from the Synod said. We shall welcome him according to all rules of the Bulgarian hospitality although the invitation hasn't been extended by the church but by the state, Metropolitan Neophit explained. As for the Chief Mufty's Office, it will start preparations for the meeting after the details of protocol are specified.

(SB)

Radichkov Proposed for Nobel Prize.

Standartnews

Writer Yordan Radichkov was proposed for the '2001 Nobel Prize for literature, Sofia University Rector Prof. Boyan Biolchev announced. The proposal was made after Prof. Biolchev received an invitation from the Nobel Committee to name a Bulgarian candidate. The letter of invitation from Stockholm was signed by all the five committee members. Yordan Radichkov's candidature will be submitted to the Committee in Stockholm on December 3, said Prof. Biolchev today at granting the Grand Award for Literature of the Sofia University "St. Climent of Ohrid" to Yordan Radichkov. "Stories enveloped me all the time and from everywhere, excited me, captured me to the full," Radichkov admitted at the ceremony. Bulgaria's great story-teller will be proposed for Nobel Prize for literature for a second time. Yordan Dimitrov Radichkov was born in 1929. He worked as a journalist in the biggest Bulgarian newspapers. "Fierce Mood", "Memories of Horses, "A Try to Fly" are among his most popular fiction novels.

(ML)

Bulgarian Chess-Players Won Victories in Moscow.

Standartnews

Kiril Georgiev passes dramatically the II round, Karpov and Korchnoy drop out in the very beginning.

Kiril Georgiev qualified for the second round at the World Chess Championship in Moscow, too. The Bulgarian chess-master won the two additional sets versus Fuad El Taher (Egypt) and with a total of 3-1 eliminated his rival. Thus the four Bulgarian representatives continue their participation. Vesselin Topalov will play with Giovani Veskovi (Brazil), Alexander Delchev - with Alexander Belyavski and Antoaneta Stefanova with Jaocin Pun (Hol) To general surprise the 12-th world champion Anatolyi Karpov dropped out at the very start. The same destiny had 70-year old Victor Korchnoy (Switzerland).

(PY)

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Avalanching New Appointments Embarrass Me.

INTERVIEW Standartnews: Georgi Parvanov

Georgi Parvanov, president-elect.

- Mr Parvanov, has President Stoyanov already invited you to consultations?

- No, he has not. Maybe he was too busy. You know, I came back in Sofia literally yesterday late at night (on Wednesday - editor's note), but we are for sure to hold talks with the President and the Premier as early as today.

- Except for consultations concerning the new head of the National Security Service, what range of topics are you to discuss?

- We should not narrow the subject of consultations in advance. I'll ask for such talks in order to discuss all possible actions and initiatives of the presidential institution and of the executive power, because there are many issues we'll have to settle together.

- How are your consultations with the president and the PM to be held - only when you are asked or a certain regularity is to be established?

- No regularity is possible, the initiative will perhaps be taken by both sides. Anyway, I myself am to ask for such a meeting, because these snowballing new appointments that are to be made in the special services and the military section Embarrass me, and today I was told of appointments planned in the diplomatic sector as well. To me, it is inadmissible.

- Have you already formed a team of yours and advisors to rely upon them?

- I'm to form my team in the framework of the few weeks before I take the office. In early January you will have the opportunity this team, or at least some of them to be presented to you. We have already established contacts on the level of experts with the team of Germany's president to draw on their experience, while building up and constructing the presidential institution in Bulgaria.

(ML)

There would be layoffs in the army in 2003.

News.bg

Updated 2004 Plan that is entering the Cabinet today stipulates carrying out main layoffs in the army by the end of 2003 Minister of Defense Nikolay Svinarov said in Ruse. The updated plan would be approved in a 10-day period. Except deadlines, the updating would include equipment and structure. According to Minister Nikolay Svinarov, the delay of the process would de-motivate the army. He met his Romanian counterpart Jon Mircea Pasku and discussed with him the forthcoming coming into effect of the agreement between the two Airforce structures, as well as the cooperation in the field of air traffic control. Pasku announced that the security of some important sites in near-border regions in the two countries should be improved.

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Bulgaria should be invited to become a member of the NATO in 2002, Papandreu said.

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Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi who is on a working visit in Greece was an honorary guest of the annual symposium of the Greek Association for Atlantic and European Cooperation. He said to the forum that the enlargement of the NATO would be a way to overcome global problems. The Greek Foreign Minister Georgius Papandreu that also participated in the forum highlighted the stabilizing role that Bulgaria and Romania would have in the region after their joining the NATO, and emphasized that the adoption of Bulgaria in the NATO next year would strengthen the positions of the Balkans in the pact. Solomon Pasi was awarded with a golden plaque by the President of the Greek Association Teodosi Georgeu for his long year contribution to the Atlantic idea.

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The Ukrainian Oleg Protsenko said Yuri Kotepkin killed Lukanov.

News.bg

Ukrainian citizen Oleg Protsenko said to the court that another Ukrainian Yuri Kotepkin had killed former Bulgarian Premier Andrey Lukanov. He said Yuri Kotepkin boasted to him that he had been the killer of Lukanov. Yuri Kotepkin was found dead three years after the murder of Lukanov in a draw-well near Elin Pelin. Protsenko said his former evidence were taken by force and the inquest officer Oleg Yanev suggested to him the name of Alexander Rusov as the killer of Lukanov. He also told the court a story of his kidnapping on January 17, 2000 that brought him finally to Bulgaria with false documents.

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