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U.S. Pfc. Dennis R. Bischoff from Lawrenceville, Georgia patrols near the border between Kosovo and Macedonia on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. Thousands miles away from home U.S soldiers serving in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo continue to perform their peacekeeing duties. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)


British soldiers load their gears on the tarmack of the Skopje military airport Thursday Sept. 27 2001.NATO units began departing from Macedonia as operation Essential Harvest shut down Wednesday after collecting nearly 4,000 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels as part of a Western-backed peace plan.(AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)


Major Gen. Lange Gunner salutes British soldiers on their departure from Macedonia at Skopje military airport, Thursday Sept. 27 2001. NATO units began departing from Macedonia as operation Essential Harvest shut down Wednesday after collecting nearly 4,000 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels as part of a Western-backed peace plan.(AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)


British soldiers load their gear on a plane before their departure from the military airport near Skopje, Macedonia Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. The first group of 35 British troops left Macedonia after successfully finished a NATO operationin which about 4,000 pieces of weapon were collected from the ethnic Albanian rebels. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)


British soldiers smile while walking towards an aircraft as they depart from the military airport near Skopje, Macedonia, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. The first group of 35 British troops left Macedonia after wrapping up the NATO operation "Essential Harvest," successfully collecting about 4,000 arms from the ethnic Albanian rebels. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)


British NATO peacekeepers wait in line at Skopje's airport September 27, 2001 as they depart at the end of their mission in Macedonia. NATO said it would immediately deploy 700 troops to the country as a security force to buttress a fragile peace accord between the government and minority ethnic Albanian guerrillas which announced today that it had disbanded in accordance with a Western-backed peace plan aimed at averting civil war. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski


Spanish soldiers salute while riding atop Personnel Carrier's leaving a base outside Skopje, Macedonia, early Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. The Spanish troops are among the first NATO troops to depart from Macedonia following the completion of NATO's Operation Essential Harvest, after collecting nearly 4,000 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels as part of a Western-backed peace plan. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)


A Spanish soldier gives the thumbs up while riding atop a Personnel Carrier leaving a base outside Skopje, Macedonia, early Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. The Spanish troops are among the first NATO troops to depart from Macedonia following the completion of NATO's Operation Essential Harvest, after collecting nearly 4,000 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels as part of a Western-backed peace plan. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)


Spanish soldiers salute while riding atop Personnel Carrier's leaving a base outside Skopje, Macedonia, early Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001. The Spanish troops are among the first NATO troops to depart from Macedonia following the completion of NATO's Operation Essential Harvest, after collecting nearly 4,000 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels as part of a Western-backed peace plan. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)


A commander of Spanish NATO peacekeepers gives the thumb up to his troops September 27, 2001 as they depart at the end of their mission in Macedonia. NATO's 4,500-strong "Task Force Harvest" collected weapons from ethnic Albanian guerrillas after a Western-sponsored peace deal in August designed to give Albanians greater civil rights. "Essential Harvest" operation had amassed 3,875 weapons for destruction, more than 500 over the target originally agreed with the National Liberation Army rebels. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti


Ali Ahmeti, right, leader of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian rebels, is watched by a bodyguard following a news conference in Sipkovica, 50 kilometers west of Skopje where he declared Thursday Sept. 27 2001 that his group had formally disbanded, just hours after NATO wrapped up its mission collecting arms from the guerrillas in the troubled Balkan country. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)


National Liberation Army (NLA) political leader Ali Ahmeti gestures during a press conference in Sipkovica village, near Tetovo September 27, 2001. Ahmeti said that ethnic Albanian rebels of the NLA had disbanded in accordance with a Western-backed peace plan aimed at averting civil war while NATO said it would immediately deploy 700 troops to Macedonia as a security force to buttress a fragile peace accord between the government and minority ethnic Albanian guerrillas. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti


LUKoil Invests $100 Mln More in Bulgaria. Russian-registered oil company "LUKoil" will invest $100 million more in the "Petrol" gas-stations in Bulgaria, company's President Vagit Alekperov said, after his meeting with PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha yesterday. "LUKoil is interested in Bulgaria's energetics privatization as well. Alekperov arrived for celebrating the 10 anniversary of LUKoil. He inaugurated a new gas-station in the vicinities of Sofia. Photo: Nikolai Donchev




The 9th International symposium of the Macedonian Constructor's Association started Thursday in Ohrid. Around 450 representatives of Macedonia, USA, Canada, Greece, Slovenia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, France and Albania will take part, presenting the latest experiences and achievements in the field of construction.

President of the Macedonian Constructor's Association Tihomir Nikolovski declared the symposium open and Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications Ljupco Balkoski delivered a speech.

Minister Balkoski stressed that the reduced investments and slower dynamic negatively reflected on the engagements of the constructors. "The construction enterprises face insufficient utilization of the capacities, illiquidity and lack of rotaries," Balkovski said.

Therefore, the association and the Ministry in charge attempt to create more favorable conditions for engaging the constructors, and the holding of this international symposium will contribute toward faster development of this branch by sharing the experience and knowledge in this area.

The debate will focus on the new trends of constructing concrete bridges and the president of the International association for concrete Michele Virloze will deliver a speech.

The symposium continues with debates on bridge construction and the condition of the road network in Macedonia.




Daily "Vecer" read on the relation between the members of the so-called NLA and the No 1 world's terrorist Osama bin Laden. The writings were supported with photos that clearly showed that mujahedeen are fighting into "NLA" lines.

The foreign diplomats to Macedonia and statesmen that visit our country frequently denied these positions. In several occasions they even warned to end such "speculations."

"Nova Makedonija" in its Wednesday's edition assumes that James Pardew personally prompted to stop publishing such articles in order to "provide peace in Macedonia."

But after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and after USA declared war against the international terrorism, the subject became actual again. The articles revealing the connections of Bin Laden's terrorist net "Al Quaida" are actual both in the Macedonian and the worlds press. Even the intelligence paid more attention, investigating everything that is suspicious.

"Dnevnik" and "Nova Makedonija" also focus on the financial relations among the terrorist organisations on the Balkan such as the "disbanded" KLA from Kosovo, amnestied LAPMB (Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvegja and Bujanovac) from southern Serbia and the intelligence connections between the terrorist groups acting in Macedonia and Osama Bin Laden's organisation Al Quaida.

"Dnevnik" reports the text published in the British daily "Times" claiming that Bin Laden and KLA have "joint" cash box in USA. There is information that Bin Laden's collaborators raise money through an organisation allegedly for the Albanian refugees after the Kosovo crisis. The raised money is then allocated to Bin Laden's terrorists, but also to KLA fighters. Some of the men in KLA are trained in the camps led by Bin Laden.

"Times" does not state the name of the organisation, but it is obvious that is "humanitarian organisation" acting in the mosques and Muslim's cultural centres in USA. Under the vail that money for "Kosovo's refugees" or "Afghanistan's children" is being raised, the organisation accumulates great amount of dollars. This is not additional expenditure for the Muslims that live in USA, as according to the American laws the persons that support the humanitarian organisations have tax relieves, so the Muslims working in USA are stimulated to give money in the organisation. Some of money is won back directly from the American budget through the tax relieves. The raised money is used for buying weapons.

"Times" stresses that some of these organisations were established under CIA's auspices in the time when the American intelligence agency supported the Afghanistan Islamists in the fight against the Soviet Union. But even when the Russian Army withdrew from Afghanistan they continued to raise money.

Money for KLA was raised in a similar manner, under US auspices, as that helped to oust Slobodan Milosevic's regime in Yugoslavia.

However, larger amount of dollars for the Islamic fundamentalist organisations were collected with drugs trafficking. Although the US Department of State has evidence that the Albanian extremists are involved in the drugs trafficking on the west market, according to the US services it is "hard to follow the money."

Under the headline "Bin Laden receives confidential information through 'NLA'", "Nova Makedonija" reveals the connection of "ethnic Albanians" with "Al Quaida" organisation led by Osama Bin Laden.

According to the paper, the foreign intelligence knew that "the strictly confidential information that was delivered to the embassies by the messengers, were redirected to 'NLA'." But the foreign diplomats and intelligence were disturbed by another fact - the confidential information was also submitted to the centres of terrorism in Europe and throughout the world.

"As we find out, the employed Albanians in the diplomatic offices of the western countries submitted the strictly confidential information to the special police forces of 'NLA' in charge with the intelligence, which sent it through special channels to the Albanian intelligence services still close to the first man of the Albanian intelligence Baskim Gazidede. The information was then redirected to Islamic fundamentalists i.e. to the men close to "Al - Quaida." After the fall of Enver Hoxha, the Albanian President at that time Sali Berisha established contacts with Islamic fundamentalists, what brought Albanian into the Islamic confederation, right after the fall of socialism."

Due to the disclosure of the connection between the "ethnic Albanians" and the most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden, the foreign intelligence started conducting informative talks with the "ethnic Albanians" employed in their offices and embassies, "Nova Makedonija" reads.

If we scratch little under the surface, it would come out that the most responsible for the situation is the administration in the embassies and the foreign offices, as it requests in the employment applications knowledge of both Macedonian and Albanian. "Nova Makedonija" states an information that most of the employees in the US, Swiss, Dutch and German embassies are from ethic Albanian belonging, while all employees within NATO "Essential Harvest" mission are Albanians. This information is compared with the fact that the embassies of the east European countries do not have such employment clause, and there are no employed Albanians. "There is no mutual interest for cooperation there," comments the author of the article.

"Nova Makedonija" emphasises that the published article does not want to backbite all Albanians and to proclaim them as "'NLA' intelligence," but underlines that "western diplomats are familiar with the methods of NLA for convincing the ethnic Albanians to work for the Albanian cause."

"The western diplomats are more afraid of how much of the information ended in the European posts of 'Al -Quaida' through 'NLA,'" concludes the paper.

Rebels in Macedonia officially disband.


SIPKOVICA, Macedonia, Sept 27 (AFP) -

Ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia have formally disbanded and returned to their normal lives, the leader of the National Liberation Army (NLA) Ali Ahmeti said on Thursday.

"Last night the NLA formally disbanded and also last night all former NLA soldiers became ordinary civilians of this country," said Ahmeti, dressed in a suit and tie and flanked by the rebel military leader, Gezim Ostreni.

The rebels began an uprising in February for greater rights for Macedonia's large ethnic Albanian minority but have surrendered almost 4,000 weapons to NATO over the last month.

Macedonia disputes NATO presence.

Japan Today

Mark Heinrich
Thursday, September 27, 2001 at 09:30 JST

SKOPJE NATO said on Wednesday rebels in Macedonia had surrendered 3,875 weapons, completing a crash disarmament scheme crucial to a peace pact, but a security void loomed as Skopje disputed plans for a longer alliance presence.

NATO's policy-making 19 state ambassadors agreed to send a new security force to Macedonia to protect international peace monitors, but the government raised 11th-hour objections over the size and duration of the mission.

Plans to install the force before a security vacuum yawns as other NATO troops who completed their arms-collection assignment on Wednesday start withdrawing ran into trouble over Macedonia's fears for its wounded sovereignty.

The peace accord signed in August under heavy Western diplomatic pressure is wobbling because of parliament's failure so far to approve minority rights reforms in return for what NATO said was its "resounding success" in disarming the rebels.

West European leaders say parliament must honour its end of the bargain or jeopardise strenuous international efforts to defuse the Balkans' fifth ethnic conflict since 1991 and buttress weak democracies across the region.

But a senior government official said the nationalist-dominated legislature was unlikely to ratify reforms unless Skopje recovered some rebel-occupied territory first.

Western officials believe that would invite trouble until parliament enacts an amnesty for the guerrillas, a crucial confidence-building step it shows no sign of taking.

The peace accord's deadline for amending the ethnocentric Macedonian constitution was September 28. But parliament's debate of the draft reforms en route to the ratification stage is now sure to drag on well into October.

Deputies are also considering whether to toss the reform bundle to a referendum, a gambit Albanians call a deal breaker.

International peace monitors will oversee the restoration of state institutions, particularly the police, and return of Macedonian refugees to insurgent areas once Skopje and NATO agree the terms of a follow-on security force.

NATO Secretary General George Robertson, apparently losing patience over the last-minute Macedonian complaints, went ahead and announced alliance ambassadors had authorised the mission.

He said a smaller force codenamed Amber Fox would succeed the 4,500-strong "Task Force Harvest" disarmament contingent.

"It's my hope that we can today finalise the details so that this mission can be deployed quickly under Germany's leadership," he told a news conference in Brussels.

Macedonian security sources said the government was in intensive talks with two NATO envoys to overcome differences.

"We want no more than 700 soldiers that's extraction troops and liaison officers together. NATO wants 1,000-1,200, a battalion size that could be misused by Albanian separatists to divide the country," one security official said.

"We also want no longer than a three-month mandate with the option to reconsider our position at the end of that period," he told Reuters. "NATO wants at least six months' deployment, if not nine.

"We are close to a breakthrough to define these vital elements of the new force but we may have to talk into the night to get it. We want to solve things today."

Task Force Harvest commanders told a news conference on Wednesday its final tally of 3,875 guerrilla firearms slated for destruction in Greece was more than 500 over the original target agreed with the rebel National Liberation Army (NLA).

The haul included 3,210 assault rifles, 483 heavy-caliber machine guns, 161 mortar and anti-tank rocket launchers, 17 ground-to-air missile systems and three tanks the guerrillas had captured from the inept Macedonian army.

There were also 395,620 rounds of ammunition, 1,045 landmines and grenades and 354 other explosive devices.

"All these weapons were handed in voluntarily by the so- called NLA as they disbanded and we believe they represent its true military capability," said British Brigadier Barney White- Spunner, commander of Task Force Harvest.

"No organization would hand over so many and such good quality weapons unless it was completely committed to the path of peace," White-Spunner said.

He was discounting suspicions by Skopje that the guerrillas concealed firepower from NATO with the aim of staging violence to raise tensions that would trap NATO in a peacekeeping role, splitting the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic along ethnic lines.

Demobilized insurgents count on NATO for protection as long as civil rights reforms and an amnesty remain in doubt. They cite threats by Macedonian paramilitaries with shadowy police links to avenge "Albanian terrorism."

LUKoil Interested in Bulgaria's Energetics.


The company will invest $100 million more in Bulgaria.

The Russian-registered oil company LUKoil said yesterday that it is willing to bid for the privatization of Bulgaria's energetics, it transpired yesterday after LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov met Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. "We'll increase our investments in Bulgaria," Alekperov said further to the PM. Their meeting in the Council of Ministers office building lasted 45 minutes. Russia's ambassador to Bulgaria Vladimir Titov and Director General of LUKoil-Bulgaria Valentin Zlatev also attended the meeting. "We talked of LUKoil's activities in Bulgaria and of Neftochim refinery, as well as of the retailers' markets we are to expand on," Vagit Alekperov added. The company is to invest $100 million more in Bulgaria. From 30,000 to 50,000 tons of oil products, produced in Bulgaria, will be exported to the USA per month, Alekperov elaborated. The premier highly appraised the activities of the company. LUKoil is both one of the biggest investors in Bulgaria and undoubtedly the biggest taxpayer, Vice-PM Nikolay Vassilev said earlier, at the inaugurating of the 25 gas station of the Russian company in the vicinities of Sofia. The event coincided with celebrations of the 10 anniversary of the firm in Russia and its 2-year activities in Bulgaria.

Tsvetelina Velcheva
Lidia Kotseva

Oil Prices Will Steady Down at $ 23-26.

STANDARTNEWS: Interview with Vagit Alekperov, president of oil company LUKoil.

Terrorists must be punished, says assuredly Vagit Alekperov, president of "LUKoil" company.

- Mr. Alekperov, how will the drastic slump in oil prices on the world market affect your business? The price has dived from $ 31 to $ 21 and this happened within numbered days after the tragic events in the USA on September 11.

- The price of $ 30-31 was not objective, same as the current price of $ 20-21. We think that these fluctuations are the aftermath of the fatal happening in New York and Washington. We hope that soon the prices will steady down within the brackets that we see as normal. To be more accurate - $ 23-26 per barrel. In our opinion this price is effective, it is acceptable both for consumers and producers.

- What results do you expect from the meeting of the OPEK countries which is starting in Vienna today (ed.'s note - yesterday).

- We think that the volume of production will remain the same and the prices will be stabilized. The Russian minister of energy and energy resources also takes part in the OPEK meeting. With him we have already discussed the price program and we both hope that during the OPEK meeting he will be able to make public the stand of the Russian Federation and the oil companies of Russia.

- Are you pondering any changes in the international and Balkan strategy of LUKoil on the background of the events in the USA.

- No, we are sure that terrorists must be punished. This stand was also backed by President Putin of Russia. We'll do our best to go on with oil and gas extraction without changing our strategy.

- How would you comment on the prognoses about the world economic crisis?

- It is true that after the tragic events in the USA the whole world is living through a difficult time, but we are sure that we shall overcome and solve these problems.

Lidia Kotseva

Alsu: I'm not Afraid to Attack American Market as Well.


The pop star is in Sofia for the celebrations of LUKoil, her first album in English was released in Bulgaria.

Pop star Alsu who is the hit not on the Russian markets only but on the UK ones as well, guests in Sofia for the celebrations dedicated to the oil giant LUKoil. Virginia Records released her first album in English in Bulgaria, titled after her name. The 18-year-old singer was terse to the utmost at her press conference at the Hilton hotel, for she dislikes speaking on the days of her concerts. The young lady showed up in an everyday sports dress and a handsome coloured man in a blue-chip black costume was among her bodyguards. "I always sing live for there's no point to do the other way round," Alsu said. She was explicit she was not afraid to compete with the western pop stars. "I visited the USA some time before the tragic events in New York and Washington, DC. I started negotiations with the Universal on releasing an album of mine," the singer elaborated on her creative plans. She said that she had not met the man of her life yet and "has no time for these things". For now, the most important things to her are her family and career. The pop star plans soon to make a megatour round Russia - from Vladivostok to Moscow. "It will be the first time that I'll have a show of my own in Moscow and the preparations for it are grandiose," Alsu admitted.

Albena Atanassova

MRF Mad at the NMS II about Candidate-President.


Dogan demanded an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister.

A scandal on the candidate-president between the MRF and the NMS II threatens to rock the hitherto solid ruling majority. The major reason for this is that Dogan's people are losing their temper because the King's men keep them in the dark about the vote for head of state. They have no information in the MRF's HQs on the NMS II position. Nobody tells us neither if we are to promote a joint candidate-president, nor whose names are being discussed, Dogan's people said. He told them that after his last phone talk with the PM, he felt scared by the delay. I'm afraid too, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha answered. Nothing transpired after the meetings of Dogan with the NMS II PG Head Plamen Panayotov during the week-end. Panayotov kept telling the MRF leader there was still time till October 6. This is the deadline for registration of presidential nominees. They get nervous in the MRF because of the information in the media too, stating that the MNS II would not nominate a candidate of their own, but back up Petar Stoyanov. Dogan's men are strongly against supporting the current Head of State. Yesterday Dogan personally visited the Prime Minister in the Council of Ministers. We shall discuss routine issues, I hope we may talk about the presidential election too, he said on entering. But after a 50-minute meeting with Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Dogan rushed past the journalists using the back entrance of the CM.

Anelia Basheva

Tornado Swept Polski Trumbesh.


The elements carried away the only school, for 10 minutes black hail size of a nut fell on the town.

The only school in Polski Trumbesh remained empty yesterday. The day before that an unprecedented tornado hit the town and ruined the building. 850 children remained out of classrooms. Yesterday they looked at the broken windows of the four-storied building. Pavlina Mineva, director of the school, ordered 400 sq.m. of glass from the glass-works in Razgrad. The whole town is covered with broken branches and sheets of iron. The vineyards are devastated, mayor Rumen Danov said. The tornado started at wind velocity of 65 km/h. After the end of the flood the local people gathered hail-stones to keep them in freezers as souvenirs. Some of the pieces were the size of an egg. While the storm raged one could hardly breathe, eyewitnesses said. Everything sank in black dust and darkness, the witnesses said. The black colour of the hail was due to the dust from the burnt stubbles, said sources from the Regional Directorate of the Environment and Water in Veliko Tarnovo. There is still a risk of a second calamity in the region.

Ivan Ivanov

Parliament Takes Day off, No Work to Do.


The deputies will not sit in the plenary hall today, because they have nothing to vote for. Two bills are to be adopted on the first reading - amendments to the Mass Media Act and the standing order. The MPs, however, are going to vote on Friday, since the respective committees considered the amendments yesterday.

Anelia Basheva

USA Coalition - BG Safeguard against Balkan Terror.


Demarcation lines have changed, our country has one and only chance - to become a partner in the global action initiated by America.

Elena Poptodorova,
Spokeswoman for
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
exclusively for "Standart"

The government and political parties of Bulgaria unanimously have declared that our country is ready to become a potent and energetic member in a shaping up global coalition against terrorism. Their reaction was timely and adequate. The declaration of the National Assembly and decision of the cabinet to grant the country's air space has shown that Bulgaria has defined its place among the democratic communities, modern and civilized states. Within just one day the concepts of safety, threat, antagonism, the image of enemy - all have changed. Now the demarcation lines are totally different. Which means that democracy, modernity and civilization are standing in opposition to the barbaric and cynical perception of interests and politics. In this situation Bulgaria has one and only chance - to cut out lip service and become an active partner and ally in the global action against terrorism that the USA embarked on. The first proof of our commitment was Bulgaria's positive answer to the U.S. request to grant our air space for their cargo aircraft. There was information that terrorism has already taken root in the Balkans. The best way to steer clear of this looming threat is to embark on worldwide actions that must be broader than national and even regional dimensions. Naturally, the Bulgarians are anxious, they are not sure if their life and security are guaranteed. The recent events have shown that even the most sophisticated military machine cannot be such a guarantee. Effective guarantees for the Bulgarians lie in the collective measures. After the events on September 11, many opinions have been voiced, including that of Guenter Verheugen, who the day before yesterday stressed the necessity of urgent enlargement of EU and NATO. These are the guarantees we must seek. More than that - we must demand them. These are the targets Bulgaria aims at and now there is political consensus on these targets. It has become one degree stronger after we voted our joint support for the actions of the USA and global coalition. I hope that this consensus is irreversible.


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