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Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, right, walks past a Macedonian honor guard on his arrival at Skopje Airport, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2001, for a one-day visit. Macedonia, a former Yugoslav republic, and Yugoslavia pledged Friday to launch a joint struggle against ethnic Albanian militants, promising to boost cooperation on defense issues and coordinate security efforts along their borders. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov (L) signs pre-elections posters with his picture during a visit to an orphanage in the village of Duganovo, some 25 km east from Sofia November 9, 2001. Stoyanov is a front runner in the poll but he may be forced into a run-off on November 18 either with Socialist leader Georgi Parvanov or former Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
The excise on gas could be decreased by 60 levs in comparison with the initial proposal of 180 levs per ton, sources from the Financial Ministry announced. This was decided after 3-km long queues of protesting drivers winded along the 'Thrace' highway. During the coming years the price of petrol and diesel will rise. Excise on the diesel fuel should reach 580 levs per ton, and this on petrol - 750 levs. (PY)
MACEDONIAN, YUGOSLAV PRESIDENTS MEET.
The bilateral Macedonian - Yugoslav cooperation was the main topic of the Friday's tete-a-tete meeting between Macedonian and Yugoslav presidents Boris Trajkovski and Voislav Kostunica, as well as at the meeting between the delegations of both countries.
After the meeting President Trajkovski informed that during the talks with Kostunica, who was in official visit to Macedonia for the first time, the accent was put on the cooperation on regional as well as on multilateral plan.
"We jointly assessed that our relations and cooperation are characterized with high extent of friendship and mutual trust as well as good neighbor relations," Trajkovski stressed, adding that he informed Yugoslav President on the parliamentary debate and the place and role of the Serb nation in the Preamble, as well as the involvement of representative of the Serbs living in Macedonia in the Committee for inter ethnic relations.
Trajkovski expressed hope that with the adoption of new Law on minorities in Yugoslavia, the Macedonians living there would obtain the adequate status.
The Macedonian President informed that the meeting also focused on the usefulness of recognizing the Macedonian Orthodox Church by the Serbian Orthodox Church. Trajkovski expressed hope that Belgrade authorities will make more efforts for explaining the importance for resolving this issue.
"We have assessed that both parts are ready to sign an agreement of friendship and cooperation between Macedonia and Yugoslavia. We discussed the practical realization of the Agreement for demarcation of state border between Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia as well as for protecting the cultural and historical monuments," Trajkovski informed.
He added that the meeting focused on the situation in the region and the world after the terrorist attacks on USA, September 11.
"We have agreed that both countries are part of the global coalition against terrorism, especially because of the fact that Republic of Macedonia and Yugoslavia are victims of the international terrorism," Macedonian President stressed, adding that both countries will jointly cooperate in the fight against organized crime, human and drugs trafficking as well as in the prevention of financing the terrorist organizations in the regions.
"I expect support for the idea proposed by Macedonia for establishing regional pact for fighting the terrorism, as well as for the initiative for collecting light and medium weapons according to Resolution 1345. We discussed the necessity for enhancing the regional cooperation in the filed of infrastructure, energy system, defense and security structures," Trajkovski stressed, adding that both parties assessed that the determination and commitment of Skopje and Belgrade for Euro Atlantic integration was extremely important.
"We welcomed the signing of the Agreement between Belgrade and UNMIK authorities for participation of Serbs in the elections on Kosovo. It is especially important the Serbs to participate at the elections on Kosovo, as the implementation of this and Ohrid agreement are important not only for the region, but also for Europe," president Trajkovski stressed.
On his part, Yugoslav President expressed his satisfaction from the fact that significant progress has been made in the Macedonian - Yugoslav relations.
"The enhancement of the bilateral cooperation is a result of the friendship between the both countries and nations, as well as due to the fact that Macedonia and Yugoslavia have same position. Certainly, the economic and political cooperation would not be like this if we did not face the greatest danger and evil of the world - terrorism," the Yugoslav President said.
"Yugoslavia and Macedonia tried to resolve the problem with terrorism in the most democratic manner, through long and hard negotiations - Ohrid agreement and the Agreement between FRY and UNMIK, which should be based on firm consensus," Kostunica said.
"The constitutions are not changed easily, they should last in democratic states such as Macedonia and Yugoslavia. We face the international community when we try to resolve our problems. The authorities of both countries showed how should the cooperation with the international community look like by preserving the existing borders of the states," the Yugoslav President said.
Kostunica thanked to the Macedonian authorities for their efforts for including the Serbs in the Committee of interethnic relations as well as in the Preamble. He assured the Macedonian part that the Belgrade authorities would protect the interests of the Macedonian community in Yugoslavia when the Law on minorities would be developed.
"We jointly stated that after the terrorist attacks from September 11, nothing is same, and therefore the two countries agreed to cooperate in the global struggle against terrorism," Kostunica stressed, adding that Yugoslavia and Macedonia contribute towards the peace and security in the region, in Southeast Europe and in the world.
Regarding the elections on Kosovo, Kostunica stressed that they were important for the peace and security not only in the province, but also in the region.
"The fact that the temporary institutions on Kosovo cannot raise the issue for idependence of the province is important not only for Kosovo and FRY, but also for protecting and respecting the principle for inviolability of the borders, what is especially important for the peace and security on the Balkans," the Yugoslav President stressed.
President Kostunica also met Parliament speaker Stojan Andov and Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski.
Macedonian Parliament Chairman Stojan Andov met on Friday with Vojislav Koastunica, President of the FR Yugoslavia, who is in one-day visit to Macedonia.
At the meeting, Andov expressed his satisfaction from the visit of the Yugoslav president, estimating it as another step ahead in the improvement of the relations between the two countries.
Andov informed Kostunica on the security situation in Macedonia, putting the emphasis on the parliament procedure for making changes to the constitution.
Both Andov and Kostunica positively evaluated the relations between Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia.
Regarding the cooperation between the two parliaments, it was outlined as significant segment in the overall cooperation between the two countries which needs to be enhanced even more in the future.
Yugoslav and Macedonian presidents agree joint fight against mililtants.
The presidents of Yugoslavia and Macedonia are launching a joint struggle against ethnic Albanian militants.
The two leaders promise defence co-operation and co-ordinated security efforts along their borders.
They say they will work together to crush militants operating in Macedonia and Serbia, Yugoslavia's larger republic.
"We hope for international solidarity, because terrorism has the same appearance all over the world," Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said after agreeing the deal with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski.
Neither leader offered specifics on the plans.
Macedonia, a former Yugoslav republic, and Yugoslavia have long hinted they would increase their cooperation to fight militants.
But the latest talks indicate Macedonia's desire to quell renewed disturbances in the northern part of the country.
Yugoslav and Macedonian authorities claim that ethnic Albanian militants are nothing more than terrorist groups. The ethnic Albanian rebels say they are fighting for greater rights.
The insurgency has eased in recent months, but incidents have flared in the northwest. In southern Serbia, fighting ended earlier this year under a NATO-brokered agreement that led to the disarmament of rebels there.
Under an August accord engineered by the United States and the European Union, ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia agreed to stop fighting and handed in more than 4,000 weapons to NATO in exchange for constitutional amendments granting greater rights to their large minority.
PM LJUBCHO GEORGIEVSKI: THIS GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ADOPT LAW ON AMNESTY.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski stated Friday that VMRO - DPMNE and Democratic Alternative did not discuss the issue on establishing new Government.
"Probably we all wait to see the finalization of Framework Agreement, so will make the move afterwards," he said, adding that the preparations for the early elections would be realized then.
Regarding the amnesty of former members of the so-called NLA, Georgievski as Prime Minister said to NATO Secretary General George Robertson that the current Government would not adopt Law on amnesty, but that was ready to "crystallize" the statement of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. "The exact measures that should or should not be undertaken would be determined in order to improve the situation," he said.
"We clearly said to Robertson that we cannot understand the structure of informers from Macedonia, who inform Brussels that the issue on amnesty is a big deal, as well as the necessity one high representative as he is, to visit the country several times only for that issue," Georgievski said.
"We do not know anything about these structures, whether they are international or from a party, but they fire the idea a Law to be developed at any cost. Extremely unfavorable situation and dispute on the Macedonian political scene would be created if we develop Law on amnesty," Georgievski assessed.
Except the information about regrouping of the Albanian terrorists, there are also information that whole structures of NLA has not been disbanded, Georgievski said. He added that he could not estimate whether there would be "winter offensive of the terrorists," but according to him "it would be calm until the elections on Kosovo, on November 17,"
"If leader of the Democratic Union on Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova wins there would be serious raids on Kosovo and disputes among the Albanian political structures. According to the last information, the parties of Hasim Thaci and Ramus Haradinay have serious intention not to recognize the eventual victory of Rugova. In such situation, there might be internal raids, and that problem could have a spill over effect in Macedonia," Georgievski pointed out.
Macedonian Prime Minister considers that "Republic of Macedonia did not get security, territorial integrity and safety of the citizens as it was promised with the constitutional changes arising from the Framework Agreement. We are in a position to give a lot, and what we get in return from the other part cannot be seen yet," Georgievski said.
He reiterated that the Macedonian Government "is a Government of free will, and every minister and every party participates according to their estimations and their responsibility."
"Regarding the issue on national unity, I think that since the establishment of this Government, whose basic point was the national unity, we have permanent disputes on the crucial issues," he said. Georgievski added that the Government would face another issue i.e. the position of PDP not to vote for the Preamble and for some other articles from the constitutional changes.
"There are serious differences within the Macedonian political block. Some parties are firmly on the position that it would be historical naivet for the Macedonian nation and state if we vote for Constitution that would not be supported by the vast majority of the Albanian representatives. On the other hand there are important political figures, which say that this issue is irrelevant. We already have such Constitution," the Prime Minister stressed, adding "we will enter into naivete and unseriousness that can cause war in three years time as we have structures that will say that they did not vote for this Constitution."
Prime Minister Georgievski said that the problem with 12 kidnapped Macedonians from Tetovo is big and the police believed there are two-three suspicious locations where their bodies could be buried.
The international organizations are extremely uncooperative regarding this case, he said.
"No one can understand this blockade coming from responsible international organizations. We do not know why they do not participate in this process when that is very important for "crystallizing" some positions, most of all of those people and for the state," he stressed.
According to the Macedonian Prime Minister the prolonging of the procedure is in order "to eliminate the traces by removing the bodies if those persons are killed." "If those people are alive, we should know in order to have clear position," Prime Minister Georgievski said.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski has informed Friday that a Ministry group has been established, which should closely review the current situation in order to offer some solution for the workers in the bankrupted companies, as well as for the employees in the public sector.
Georgievski stated that he could not promise much regarding these issues as the entire governmental program, including the part dealing with the economy and social issues, is within the agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"There some matters that we want to discussed with these two international organizations, in order to get their support," said the Macedonian Premier, adding that the main problem is the issue for early retirement, namely to reduce the years needed for retirement, as well as the options to grant social assistance for the workers.
The Premier also informed that there are several combinations for resolving these problems, which should be first determined with the IMF and the WB, and than offered.
Answering a question at a press conference about the announced donor's conference for Macedonia, Georgievski said "there were no serious offers from the other side at this moment, and after a war caused by the overflowed Kosovo conflict and after the constitutional changes, Macedonia did not deserve to be mistreated by the International Community."
Georgievski also said that regarding the holding of the conference, there are only big promises, same as after the Kosovo crisis.
"Having gained experience from such situation, as well as from the similar situations in our neighboring countries, which have been offered some financial help, we would really like to know what Macedonia will get at the end," Georgievski pointed out.
Macedonian government grants rebel amnesty.
SKOPJE, Oct 9 (AFP) -
The Macedonian government has granted an amnesty to ethnic Albanian rebels in line with President Boris Trajkovski's proposal, Deputy Prime Minister Dzevet Nasufi said Tuesday.
The government at its weekly meeting "discussed and accepted the amnesty proposal" from the head of state, said Nasufi, who leads one of the ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia.
Nasufi cautioned however that the decision must be followed up with an amnesty bill.
The government had been under international pressure to grant the amnesty to fighters of the National Liberation Army (NLA), which agreed to disband last month after a peace accord was signed.
The August 13 peace accord calls for an amnesty for all the guerrillas who have voluntarily laid down their weapons and who have committed no crimes for which they could be indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal.
Bonev's Rating Rocketing up.
For the smearing ploy used against Bonev on Monday Stoyanov paid with his rating.
Three days before the presidential elections, 20 percent of the voters say that they will chose Bogomil Bonev. The ex-minister of interior is ahead of his rival from the BSP, Georgi Parvanov by a margin of 3 points. These are the results of the latest opinion poll carried out by the "Fact" Agency. Petar Stoyanov's rating suffered after during the TV debate on Monday he produced a discrediting report against Bonev. Within the last week backing for Stoyanov has slid down from 43 to 40 percent, i.e. by 16 percent. The chances for a run-off are fifty-fifty. Everything will depend on the behavior of those 15-17 percent of the potential voters, who are still hesitant about their favorite. Two-thirds of the electors declare their readiness to cast their votes, almost 30 percent for sure will abstain. On November 11, we shall witness a fierce fight for every vote, the pollsters forecast. So far there has been no signs that the actual pattern of behavior on Sunday will differ much from what we had witnessed during the elections in the last 6-7 years. Which means that the number of actual voters will account for 80-85 percent of those who declared the intention to vote. This gives grounds to predict that 55-60 percent of the eligible voters will come to the polling stations.
Schengen Plan Carried out till 2004.
The cabinet adopted yesterday a Schengen plan for harmonizing the normative acts regulating the activity of the Interior Ministry and judicial system with the European legislation. The plan envisages legislative amendments, building up institutions and organizational measures, necessary to meet and implement the EU criteria more fully, Georgi Petkanov, Minister of Interior said. The ultimate implementation has to be completed till end-2004. All the chapters are financially provided for this and the next year.
Austria: Close Reactors 3 and 4 of "Kozlodouy."
Austria expects the Bulgarian government to close down reactors 3 and 4 in the 'Kozlouduy' Nuclear Power Plant till the end of 2006, Austria's Foreign Minister said after the meeting with his Bulgarian colleague Solomon Passy. Till the end of the next year our country should close down its oldest atomic reactors - first and second. According to the agreement with the EU the negotiations about the third and forth reactors should go on. This was what PM Kostov contracted with Brussels before we received an invitation for negotiations with the EU. The exact term is not fixed yet. Bulgaria insists the closing to start in 2008-2010. The project life of the two reactors ends in 2012.
Team of 'Standart'
Students to Revolt for Unplugged Central Heating.
Pupils from 'Princess Maria Louise' technical clothing college protested yesterday for two hours in front of the Ministry of Education (MoE), since the central heating in their school is not yet put in operation. 'We freeze. Half of the class is ill. We are writing with gloves, while the teachers stay with hats during the lesson,' said Maria Dichkova, pupil in the 8th grade. 'None of the teachers is backing us, but rather hang to their jobs,' said Evgenia Slavova from the 10th grade. Two school girls managed to enter the MoE headquarters and talked with Dimitar Tanev, director in 'Financing' Department. He didn't let journalists at the meeting with the students. When leaving the director's office, school girl Boryana Geshanova said: 'They pass the ball to each other. The school directress blamed the Ministry, while here they told us that she was to be blamed,' Still, the children were assured, that the central heating will be started today.
Germans Invest 200 Mill. in Bulgarian Mines.
'Rheinebraun' won't close the brown coal deposit.
200 mill. DM will be invested in the 'Maritza-Iztok' mines immediately after the finalization of the negotiations and the start of the privatization deal with the German concern 'Rheinebraun', chiefs of the company said. The money will be used for modernization of the technics and the equipment in the mines. During the next years the Germans will invest nearly 1 bill DM for the technological renovation of the deposits. 'Rheinebraun' gave up the idea to close one of the mines in 'Maritza-Iztok and will work out a new project for the exploitation of the brown coals. This became clear after the emotional discussion between Bulgarian and German experts, which ended late at night in Radnevo.
Bulgarians Win the Gold in Weightlifting.
Andrey Ivanov brought the title to Qatar, Plamen Zhelyazkov failed in C&J.
Reporter of 'Standart'
Two Bulgarians won the three gold medals in category up to 77 kg at the 71st World Weightlifting Championship in Antalya the night before yesterday. Assenovgrad citizen Plamen Zhelyazkov topped the snatch with 165 kg, although further on he flopped in clean and jerk (C&J) with two failures at 195 kg. As early as at the third attempt the World champion from Xangmay'97 and European champion from La Coruna'98 managed to tame the bar over his head to gain, however, only the fifth place in the total. The World title and the gold in C&J, though for Qatar, won another Bulgarian - Andrey Ivanov, born in Pernik. Now he vies for the Arab state and is named Abar Nader. He jerked 202.5 kg and accumulated total of 365 kg. 26-year-old Ivanov, who was beaten black and blue in Radomir's discotheque last year, outran Armenian Arsen Melikyan, thanks to his lower personal weight.
BGL 2 Bln Circulate in Grey Economy.
Prosecutors to train preliminary examinators at the regions.
Two billion levs circulate in grey economy, Colonel Boyko Borissov, Chief Secretary in the Interior Ministry, said yesterday. 'We do our best to combat them, but it's pretty hard,' he added. 'It is a huge problem with the preliminary investigation in the police,' Chief Secretary admitted before the chairmen of the Sofia Directorate of Interior (SDI). 'We have agreed with the regional prosecutor - Slavcho Karzhev, prosecutors to train local examinators in regions,' he elaborated. In the SDI lots of factors hamper the work. But cohesion in the police began to return,' Col. Borissov added. To him, SDI is the more important unit than the national services. 'This is the face of the Ministry,' he said. '20 percent of the total crimes are committed in Sofia,' Roumen Stoyanov, SDI director, said. 22% of the discovered crimes happen to be in Sofia. 'If the glory of the Sofia Directorate is to come back, then I would have done my job, Col. Borissov added.
Prosecutors Will Detain Bandits.
From now on it will be the prosecutors who will decide whether to use measure of restraint 'arrest' while the court will exercise the control. This is part of the amendments to the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, which the government drafted. They weren't discussed at a regular sitting yet, but the final variant is ready, Minister of the Internal Affairs Georgy Petkanov said. The amendments read that if a person has one or two pending charges, which call for more than 5 years imprisonment, 'arrest' will be a compulsory measure. The third novelty is that in such cases the court's control over the prosecution will be carried out by one institution, not by two or three as it used to be so far.
Bonev To Enjoy the Vote of the Dissatisfied with the Transition.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Prof. Georgi Karassimeonov.
He wins part of the NMS votes, the campaign is no surprise, believes Prof. Georgi Karassimeonov from Sofia University.
- Prof. Karassimeonov, what is the difference between the candidate-presidential campaign which completes today and the preceding ones?
- In the first place, unlike past years, the traditional confrontation between 'blue' (UDF) and 'red' (BSP) electorates was replaced by another model. According to it the aspiration of the nominees, except for Parvanov, was to present themselves as supra-party figures. It is a reaction complied with the sentiments of society which found an unequivocal expression in the June 17 elections. And secondly, the presidential elections will be held in the situation of another rule. However, it doesn't predict any turn in the country's crisis model of rule and the absence of a clear-cut home political orientation. For this reason in the presidential candidates people again look for someone who will at least outline the prospects of hope.
- What were the pre-election messages dominated by?
- It was a weak campaign. Not to mention the fact that in the final phase of the debates it collapsed to the level of mutual accusations and mud throwing which are traditional for the area of the Balkans.
- How would you comment on the sharply increased rating of Bogomil Bonev?
- He enjoys a specific vote. The vote of those who don't want to accept the impossibility, within the framework of those three-four months of the new rule, to change things. He enjoys the support of the discontented with the transition as a whole. Of those who reject the political elite and again look for a figure who isn't connected with it.
- You mean, the combination of a protest vote plus a charismatic figure. Doesn't it repeat the type of vote of June 17 last?
- Part of the votes dropped for the NMS at the parliamentary elections are now being switched over to Bonev. Switched over to him as well will be the people who previously voted for George Ganchev. And of people who like the style of Boiko Borrissov, for example. It is the vote of people who have lost confidence in the capability of the democratic process and who orient themselves to figures who offer them other decisions too.