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Macedonian Albanian Daut Kadriovski, 52, stands in a police station in Tirana after he was arrested by local police in cooperation with Interpol on drug trafficking charges, September 4, 2001. Kadriovski, wanted in 12 European countries, had been living in Albania for six years. REUTERS/Gent Shkullaku
A boy rides his bicycle in front of a destroyed mosque in the village of Matejce, some 30kms northwest of the capital Skopje, September 4, 2001. Macedonia's nationalist prime minister Ljubco Georgievski has blasted a NATO backed peace plan but called on parliament to ratify the blueprint because the small Balkan state could not afford to defy the West. REUTERS/Peter Andrews
Albanian men climb around on a destroyed Macedonian tank in the village of Matejce, northwest of the capital Skopje, September 4, 2001. Macedonia's nationalist prime minister Ljubco Georgievski has blasted a NATO backed peace plan but called on parliament to ratify the blueprint because the small Balkan state cannot afford to defy the West. (Peter Andrews/Reuters)
An ethnic Albanian man looks on as soldiers of the National Liberation Army march through the village of Slupcane, Macedonia Tuesday Sept. 4, 2001. The country's parliament is under intense international pressure to reform the constitution. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer shakes hands with a member of the German Task Force Harvest, during his visit to the German-run base in Zelino, Macedonia, Tuesday Sept. 4, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Lewis)
Ethnic Albanian soldiers of the National Liberation Army march through the village of Slupcane, Macedonia, Tuesday, Sept. 4 2001. The NLA troops are training in the northern Macedonian town, while the country's parliament is under intense international pressure to reform their constitution to allow greater rights for the ethnic Albanian population. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Col. Borissov Entered IM. On his first working day in the Interior Ministry new Chief Secretary Boyko Borissov (to the left) was conferred the rank of colonel. Minister G. Petkanov (on the right) officially presented him to the head of the services and journalists. Photo Neli Nikolova
Wanted: Enemy to Justify $344 Billion War Budget.
Ben Cohen, AlterNet
September 4, 2001
You may know some despicable characters, but are they mean enough to apply for this job posting?
ENEMY WANTED. Serious enemy needed to justify Pentagon budget increase. Defense contractors desperate. Interested enemies send letter and photo or video (threatening, ok) to Enemy Search Committee, Priorities Campaign, 1350 Broadway, NY, NY, 10018.
Here's the deal: We know our politicians have their work cut out for them. They need to find an enemy to justify maintaining the Pentagon budget as if the Cold War never ended. But the pool of credible enemies is evaporating. North Korea is even going diplomatic. The Soviets took themselves out of the running years ago. And countries like Iraq -- or tough looking trading partners like China -- don't make the cut.
So, I am distributing a job description as widely as possible to help our politicians find the enemy they seek. Even with the help of defense contractors -- who spend $50 million on lobbyists annually -- our politicians do not possess the creativity to find the right adversary. It's clear that the old concept of enemy doesn't work anymore.
The trouble is the Defense Department needs to find an enemy in a hurry. The Bush Administration has proposed to increase Pentagon spending by $33 billion, the largest defense increase since the Cold War.
This inexplicable proposal is under attack by children's advocates, who would rather use the $33 billion earmarked for the Pentagon to begin modernizing our crumbling public schools and to buy health insurance for millions of U.S. kids and Head Start for the one-third of eligible children who can't get in because it's under-funded.
As pressure mounts to pay for these domestic programs -- and the size of the projected surplus shrinks -- defense contractors and the Pentagon PR machine, including their legion of liaisons on Capitol hill, are getting nervous. Meanwhile, high tech airplanes crash inexplicably, Star Wars tests miss their targets, and the budget crunch in Congress looms. All of this raises questions, questions, questions:
- Why does the Pentagon need a budget of $344 billion -- which would be over three times as much as the combined defense spending of Russia, China, and America's potential adversaries (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria)? And this does include not the over $200 billion spent by U.S. allies annually on defense.
- How do Congress and the President know how much money the Pentagon needs when it can't pass a financial audit -- despite legal obligations to do so? Without audited books, the President and Congress do not know for certain what the Pentagon has and what it really needs.
- Why does the federal government want to spend $344 billion on the Pentagon, when the federal government currently spends only $42 billion on education, $26 billion on affordable housing, $6 billion on Head Start, and only $1 billion on school construction? Does it appear that our national priorities are mixed up or what?
These would be tough questions, even if America had a serious enemy. Without one, these are devastating questions -- and it's so painful to see our politicians trying to answer them that I want to help them find an enemy as quickly as possible.
Larger trends are also causing our politicians to squirm when defending the Pentagon budget, and frankly it's an embarrassing sight (hence, again, the immediate enemy need). For example:
- In our country -- the richest nation in the world -- 14 million kids attend schools that need extensive renovation or replacement. In international test scores, our eighth graders rank 18 in math and 19 in science, below Slovenia, Singapore, and Hungary, among others.
- The child poverty rate hovers at over 15 percent, meaning that about one in six kids lives in poverty.
- Over 40 million Americans, including about 10 million children, have no health insurance.
My enemy search -- if successful -- would go a long way toward easing the consciences of our politicians who support the fat Pentagon budget, which diverts money from poor children, the environment, and other good things.
As of today, however, my search is not going well. So, I am open to any and all suggestions or leads that you might have. I am, of course on the lookout for the right headhunter, but none has materialized.
If you've got any killer ideas, please let me know.
Ben Cohen is co-founder of Ben and Jerry's and President of the Priorities Campaign (www.businessleaders.org).
FM MITREVA AND HER FRENCH COUNTERPART VEDRINE HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE.
"We want to stay in Macedonia after the current mission is over, but it is up to the Macedonian authorities to decide in which form," French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said at the joint press conference with Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva. He stressed that the Framework Agreement is aimed to strengthen and not to divide Macedonia.
"The Macedonian political leaders had the courage to sign a very important document which is being discussed in the parliament today. I cannot intervene in this discussion, but we, the Europe, wish this agreement to be accepted," Vedrine said.
"We focused on the current situation in Macedonia, leaving the bilateral aspects of our cooperation for some better days," Macedonian Minister Mitreva said.
On behalf of the Macedonian Government, Mitreva expressed gratitude for the continuous support that France is providing to Macedonia and hailed the participation of 612 French soldiers in the "Essential Harvest" operation.
Mitreva and Vedrine also talked about the implementation of the Framework Agreement and about the enormous significance of the parliamentary debate on the agreement which is ongoing. In that context, the two ministers strongly condemned the use of force as a mean for realization of political goals.
Mitreva also pointed to the need of additional engagement by the international community for releasing of the hostages that the so-called NLA holds and for safe returning of the displaced persons to their homes.
"This should be a parallel process with the disarmament and withdrawal of the terrorists and the ongoing parliamentary debate," she stressed.
She also asked from France to support the idea for organizing a donors' conference for Macedonia.
"I emphasized that Macedonia needs partner's and not mentor's attitude from the international community," Mitreva stated.
Asked about the Greek initiative for finding a compromise for the name dispute, Mitreva said that the position of the Macedonian Government remains unchanged in regard to this matter.
"We expect from the EU and the US to start using our constitutional name, because resolving of this problem will contribute not only to the stability of Macedonia, but also to the region as whole," Mitreva stated.
Rebel Albanians from Macedonia lay low in Kosovo.
UROSEVAC, Yugoslavia, Sept 4 (AFP) -
Hundreds of ethnic Albanian guerrillas have crossed over from Macedonia to the Serbian province of Kosovo since demobilising under an August peace deal aimed at ending a seven-month insurgency.
For members of the National Liberation Army who come from Kosovo itself, it is a return home, but for those coming from Macedonia it is a question of lying low for a few months before returning home when conditions are safer.
Most of those who have chosen to go to Kosovo do so by crossing the mountains which separate the mainly ethnic-Albanian province of Serbia from Macedonia, with little heed for NATO-led (KFOR) peacekeepers in the UN-administered province.
"What do we have to fear if they stop us? Three days in Camp Bondsteel, then freedom?" said commander Ali Daja, a former official of rebe brigade 113 in the northern region of Kumanovo, refering to KFOR's detention centre.
Many witnesses said that commanders and other fighters stroll the streets of the Kosovo towns of Urosevac, Prizren and Gnjilane having crossed either legally or illegally into Kosovo territory.
Since the peace accord struck in the southwestern Macedonian town of Ohrid on August 13 aimed at ending the rebellion over minority rights, several hundreds of fighters have been stopped by KFOR entering Kosovo illegally, but most were released shortly afterwards.
According to Captain Daniel Byer, spokesman for the KFOR brigade, only around 100 fighters are still in detention in Camp Bondsteel. Over a thousand have been arrested since the beginning of the conflict in February.
A 21-year-old man, nicknamed Barut, says that he was detained for three days by KFOR after being demobilised by the rebels' 113 brigade. Then he was taken by KFOR soldiers to the bus station several kilometres (miles) away.
"Last week between 10 and 50 former combatants were released each day," a witness at the bus station cafe said.
A welcome committee has been set up by the rebels in Kosovo to help those coming from Macedonia who have nowhere to go.
On Friday 140 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo who claimed they were former rebel soldiers came to Kosovo legally right under the noses of KFOR troops and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
They went first to Albania, then they presented themselves as unarmed civilians at a border post at Verbnica, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Prizren.
Embarrassed UNMIK officials finally allowed their entry. "Not one of them was stopped because they had regulation Macedonian passports," said an UNMIK spokesman.
A number of KLA guerrillas injured in the war have also found refuge in hospitals in Kosovo where they are treated just like other patients. Doctors and nurses know where their injuries came from, but they maintain a code of silence.
According to witnesses, one rebel shot in the leg at Slupcane in northern Macedonia has already spent two months in hospital in Kosovo without receiving a single visit from the police or KFOR forces.
More Than 50 Percent Of Macedonians Do Not Back Framework Agreement.
Skopje, September 4, 2001 (MAKFAX) - Based on the opinion polls, conducted by the Institute of Democracy, Solidarity and Civic Society, more than 50 percent of the citizens of Macedonian nationality (50,7 percent) do not back the Framework Agreement, signed by the leaders of the broad government coalition, whilst, some 43.7 percent say the political settlement is the best option. The local daily Utrinski Vesnik quotes the results of the opinion polls.
As many as 78 percent of the citizens of Albanian nationality back up the Framework Agreement, whilst, 12.9 percent of ethnic Albanians voiced discontent with the agreement.
The opinion polls show that the majority of the citizens of Macedonia, excluding those of Albanian nationality, have no confidence in NATO and raised doubts on successful outcome of the ongoing NATO mission in Macedonia.
Some 81.8 percent of Macedonians do not approve amnesty to be granted to the members of the so-called NLA. Some 71 percent of Roma people and 69 percent of Serbs do not approve the act of amnesty. On the other hand, as many as 98.4 percent of ethnic Albanians, including 64.7 percent of ethnic Turks fully back the initiative on amnesty.
Asked who could create problems after the parliamentary approval of constitutional changes, 48.9 percent of Macedonians said the ethnic-Albanian political parties are very likely to create problems during the parliamentary debate on constitutional reforms. More than 50 percent of ethnic Albanians said they do not know who could create problems, whilst, 34.4 percent said VMRO-DPMNE will obstruct the procedure on constitutional changes.
JOSCHKA FISCHER VISITED GERMAN TROOPS IN EREBINO.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer Tuesday afternoon arrived on a two-day visit to the Republic of Macedonia.
After the arrival Fischer visited NATO German troops stationed in Erebino military base.
During his visit he is due to meet with Macedonian top officials.
Commander of the German contingent of Task Forces Harvest, Colonel Robert Strada, introduced Fischer with the living conditions in the base before the start of the second phase of the Harvest operation with which the German troops are to start their activities in Macedonia.
Referring to the framework agreement, German Foreign Minister stated that the agreement must be adopted because it will bring peace.
"Inspite of the political pressure, a solution must be found, although it is a heavy challenge for fulfilment. It is necessary Europe to have right attitude and this is the only chance through agreement to come to peace. On the contrary a critical conflict that no one wants may happen," he warned.
Regarding the question whether he believes that NATO forces will stay in Macedonia more than 30 days, Fischer answered "it is not the matter of trust but the matter of what will happen." In regard to the allegations that NATO prepares long-term presence in this region, he said, "although the situation is very complicated and fragile, there is no reason not to believe in the final success."
He said that it is very important Germany to participate in stabilisation process in this region as he said, "a future must be observed."
Fischer said that he has been satisfied with the ongoing operation and the collected weapons so far.
On the question for the donation conference for Macedonia, German Foreign Minister answered "it is necessary Macedonia to recover economically sooner."
"At this point we are prepared to donate DM 5 million. When this process will end positively a recovery process will follow and EU member-states are preparing national programmes by donating large sums of resources," Fischer stressed.
Germany sends in the Panzers.
NATO COMMANDERS were said to have been horrified at the weekend when German Leopard tanks moved into Macedonia from Kosovo. The Leopard "panzers" were sent to protect the German contingent in Task Force Harvest, the NATO arms collection operation, writes Paul Beaver in Skopje
"This operation is supposed to be with the consent of the Macedonian government and people," said a senior NATO officer in Skopje, "so why the Germans needed to send tanks is mystery."
The German forces are under the command of the French contingent and will be deployed on arms collection after the Macedonian parliament votes for the peace agreement.
A NATO spokesman told The Scotsman that the tanks would be used for escorting arms that had been collected. Convoys take the weapons to a military training area at Krivolak for disposal. "You have to ask what sort of military mind thinks of sending tanks to a simple arms collection operation," he added.
German troops arrived late for the mission because a constitution ruling was required.
Armed protection role looms in Macedonia.
NATO member countries may have to provide armed guards for civilian peace monitors when the alliance's 30-day weapons collection mission in Macedonia ends, James Pardew, the United States' envoy to the Balkans, admitted yesterday.
However, the troops giving protection to unarmed observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe might have to be drawn from "a coalition of the willing" in the absence of a formal mandate to extend the British-led Nato role.
The US is unwilling to put its own service personnel in direct harm's way, and has limited its current contribution to logistics and intelligence-gathering.
Similarly, Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, appeared last night to be trying to avoid an open-ended British commitment when he warned that there were "limits" to what could be achieved.
He called on other countries to play their part in maintaining peace in the political vacuum that was bound to follow Operation Essential Harvest.
The UK has 1900 troops, drawn mainly from the elite Parachute Regiment, in the 3500-strong Nato force collecting weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels. About 1200 of 3300 promised arms have already been handed over.
One soldier attached to the UK force died from head injuries last week after Macedonian youths stoned his vehicle in protest at what hardline Slavs in the republic feel is alliance endorsement and reward of Albanian violence.
Asked if the British soldiers would be withdrawn after 30 days, Mr Hoon said: "I'm pretty confident that they will be home. I believe we will have contributed significantly to an important international operation, and equally, I will be looking to other countries to play their part."
Mr Hoon is now to meet Macedonian leaders "to emphasise the importance of their part in the process". While the UK contingent reserved the right to withdraw if that process failed and fighting resumed, the government was determined that the confidence-building measures represented by the surrender of rebel weapons should continue.
Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said British troops should remain in Macedonia until the job of enforcing stability was completed.
"The 30-day time limit always seemed unrealistic, but parliament should have the opportunity to debate the issue if our forces are to stay longer than originally announced," he said.
Nato's spokesman in the republic, Yves Brodeur, said its policy-makers have already agreed in principle on longer-term stabilisation measures.
"Everyone knows that after 30 days there will be a vacuum of some sort that will have to be filled to ensure the whole thing doesn't blow up again. Unarmed monitors from the OSCE may spearhead the effort, but would have to be protected," he said.
"It is too early to say whether that protection would be Nato-led or dependent on volunteers from member states which might not perhaps have made a significant contribution so far."
Nato troops face open-ended stay in Macedonia.
By Kim Sengupta and Justin Huggler in Skopje
04 September 2001
British soldiers may be forced to remain in Macedonia much longer than expected because Nato is set to change a "firm" 30-day limit on its mission to collect arms from Albanian rebels.
Under new proposals, time lost when the political peace process is stalled will no longer count towards the 30 days, which could extend the mission far beyond its original mandate.
The plans emerged yesterday as Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, flew into Macedonia to meet political leaders and "bang their heads together'' and as the West accused ethnic Macedonian hardliners of trying to undermine the peace process.
The new proposals were the second sign of "mission creep". Earlier, the US special envoy, James Pardew, suggested that Nato's mandate might have to be extended the first Western official to acknowledge openly a possibility that everyone in Macedonia is talking about. Speaking about the need for more international monitors after the end of weapon collections, Mr Pardew told BBC radio that the monitors "would not be armed, and that does raise the question... whether there should be an extension of the military mandate". But he added: "That hasn't been decided by Nato or anyone else."
The rebels have made no secret of their desire for Nato troops, including up to 1,900 British soldiers, to stay longer in Macedonia. Commanders have warned that they will remobilise if Nato leaves on schedule, in about three weeks, 30 days after the first collection.
On the ethnic Macedonian side, Ljube Boskovksi, the ultra-hardline Interior Minister, has said to Western dismay that he will launch a new crackdown on the rebels the moment that Nato troops leave.
The controversial new "elasticity'' in Nato's 30-day limit may be the first step towards extending the mission. It is also clearly aimed at preventing hardliners in the government from deliberately stalling the peace process.
A vital parliamentary debate on granting the Albanian minority more rights, as agreed under the Western-brokered peace deal, finally resumed yesterday. The Albanian rebels have only agreed to disarm in return for the new rights.
The debate was delayed for two days by Stojan Andov, the parliamentary speaker and a member of the hardline kitchen cabinet that, in effect, controls the country. Western diplomatic and military sources said yesterday that those two days would be added to the 30 days.
After meeting political leaders, Mr Hoon said he was "extremely hopeful" that parliament would vote for the reforms. "The 30-day period is not inflexible," he added. "There is no reason why there should be a substantial military operation [after the 30 days]."
But he made clear that Britain did not want to repeat the solo lead role it has in the current mission. "If there is to be a follow-on operation, we will be looking to other countries to play the kind of part that we played," he said. Mr Hoon had come to tell Ljubco Georgievski, the Prime Minister, that he would not get Western backing for a military solution if his followers scuppered the agreement. Western officials believe the Macedonian army is incapable of defeating the rebels without help.
Nato is clearly trying to shore up Boris Trajkovski, the President, against Mr Georgievski. Mr Trajkovski has taken a more moderate line over the crisis, but has little political support in Macedonia.
"We shall be giving our full backing to President Trajkovski, who is an extremely courageous man,'' Mr Hoon said.
Nato sources admitted yesterday that the majority of arms handed over by the rebels are not state of the art. The real breakdown is "about one-third good, one-third serviceable, and one-third antiquated".
Albanians fear that the Macedonian government is using the Nato presence to get ready for all-out war. Nato is uneasy for the same reason, according to a senior diplomat.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES UNDER A PRESSURE OF MILITARY AGGRESSION.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski supported the Macedonian President's initiative for starting a procedure on constitutional changes, which is stipulated in the Framework Agreement, and called on parliamentarians to vote for this proposal.
"I have never thought the Macedonian Constitution is the reason for the six-month crisis in the country. Therefore, I do not consider that changing of the Constitution by 35 amendments will bring peace in Macedonia, Georgievski said, adding that current and former governments were responsible for the crisis.
The Macedonian Constitution and the 35 amendments that would be approved were a result of a military aggression upon Macedonia in the last six months.
"I will not talk about all battles. I will just mention the first one in Tanusevci, which was direct attack from Kosovo, and the last one in Radusa, also a border region, which was shelled from Kosovo. So, we must say loud and clear that Macedonia has been imposed to a military aggression for the last six months, despite the fact that many local Albanians joined those groups. But they also went to Kosovo first, becoming official members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, and returning to Macedonia after three months. So, now we are forced to change the Constitution under the pressure of a military aggression," Georgievski said.
Referring to terms for constitutional changes, Georgievski said the initiative was presented under direct pressure of violence and terror.
"Firstly, we have violated one of the most significant standard of the international community, giving great award to all terrorists in the world, that we as Macedonia and the international community are considering that terrorism is a profitable business. The lessons we have learned for decades that terrorism may not be awarded with meeting of a political goal are not applicable for us. Unfortunately, we must confess that we accept to give such an award. Secondly, we are to change the Constitution when part of Macedonia's territory is occupied. That is a fact that must be considered when we discuss on successful surpassing of the crisis. The third issue is that we must admit that from this moment on we shall talk about the Prizren document. The difference between the Framework Agreement and this document refers only to the military service, i.e. the Prizren document says that soldiers may serve their term at home -in their native cities," Georgievski said.
According to him, Macedonia is facing military and economic embargo, as all of its arrangements with the financial institutions, as well as bilateral programs, are being halted. He warned that in a few months, the economic situation in the country would be seriously worsened.
He expressed his disappointment with the international community in regard to measures it had taken against the terrorists, who killed, burned and destroyed in Macedonia.
"Besides the list of terrorists who are prohibited to enter into the United States, no other measure against terrorism has been taken. On the other hand, the pressure upon Macedonia is more then evident," Georgievski said.
As a reason for supporting of the initiative for constitutional changes, Georgevski referred to the national unity.
"Since the emerging of the crisis in Tanusevci until today, I, as a leader of VMRO-DPMNE, have no other political rival but the NLA terrorists. Unfortunately, it does not refer to all political parties and individuals that participate in the Macedonian Government. When we speak about Macedonia's future we must consider the lack of unity among the Macedonian people, offering no guarantee that if we keep fighting, something in that respect will be improved," Georgievski said.
"So, if some part of Macedonia is occupied we must defend and restore control over that part, if people are being kidnapped and terrorized, we must protect them with our security forces. Unfortunately, we did not mange to be united even when dealing with such crucial situations. I do not wish to call it a sabotage of the state interests, maybe it is fear or inability. I also refuse to think that it is a result of some party interests," Georgievski said.
He pointed out that the Macedonian political parties set four conditions for scheduling of a parliamentary session on constitutional changes to the international representatives on the day when the Framework Agreement was signed. The conditions were: collecting of one third of the weaponry, withdrawal of terrorists to their positions of July 5, returning of displaced and kidnapped persons to their homes, and durable cease-fire. Unfortunately, only the first one of those conditions was partially met, Georgievski said.
He also expressed his disagreement with the claim that those parliamentarians who would vote against the constitutional changes would be responsible for a war in the country, adding he heard that accusation several times not by Macedonian, but by foreign representatives.
"I do not think that those who will vote against the constitutional changes should be considered guilty for the Macedonian Constitution. However, I call on the parliamentarians to vote for the changes because of a very simple reason. Is it so easy for us to grant amnesty to terrorists, and to tell to those who so easily killed and destroyed in Macedonia that they were right, and if they continue with their violence, they will be right again because members of the Macedonian parliament are guilty? " Georgievski asked.
According to him, all parliamentarians should bear the responsibility if they vote against the changes, but "it is said that the choir of international and domestic experts will sing the same song, forgetting Ali Ahmeti and his bloodthirsty people, and seeking the guilty one among the Macedonian people."
For Georgievski, one of the reasons for adopting of constitutional changes is the presence of NATO in Macedonia.
"You have witnessed the NATO credibility when it entered into Macedonia, despite the differences on whether it is necessary to spend DM one billion for this operation that will collect weaponry, worth DM two million, and whether it requires 5,000 soldiers to collect 3,300 pieces of weaponry. It is obvious that we should not "gamble" with the NATO authority and if the Alliance takes part in this game, we should accept it and express out trust," Georgievski said.
Speaking about "war or peace" and the conditions for constitutional changes, there was unanswered question, which most probably could not be answered by nobody, Georgievski said.
"Those who will refuse to vote and war happens will be declared guilty for the war. I will rephrase the question: what if all amendments are adopted and terrorism does not stop in Macedonia, as well as violence acts on our civilians. What if the displaced persons will not return to their homes even after a year, along with everything that means continuation of the war for territories, which has begun in that manner and unfortunately, will most probably end like that," Georgievski said.
Referring to the reasons for which the initiative for constitutional changes should be adopted, Georgievski said that all must understand that "the Republic of Macedonia is a collateral damage of the NATO intervention in 1999," reminding that the term was invented by the international community "when the aerial bombs by mistake hit trailers with Albanians and trains with civilians."
"Unfortunately, voting for this initiative we have to be aware that Macedonia is a collateral damage of that intervention and we cannot expect those who made that mistake in 1999, to admit it today. Unfortunately, these are the conditions under which we are to commence with this initiative," Georgievski said.
In his address, Georgievski also referred to the coexistence between the Macedonians and Albanians in the last ten years, which, as he said "is neither written in the current Constitution, nor in the proposed changes."
"Life between Macedonians and Albanians has not been ideal for the last ten years, but I may say that during the rule of this and former coalition Governments, they have simply lived together. I do not know how many years and generations should pass to bring back Macedonia where it was six months ago, when we received compliments from the international community and from the leaders of Albanian political parties in Macedonia," Georgievski said.
In this respect, he said it was very difficult for him to listen to the exchange of accusations between the VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM.
"SDSM is accusing VMRO-DPMNE that it has made a mistake or treason by passing the Laws on amnesty and higher education, giving in to some individual demands, even for the Kosovo crisis, while VMRO-DPMNE accuses SDSM for granting 150.000 certificates for citizenship to Albanians in 1994/95, including to Mr. Basilj Bajrami, who was not entitled to the Macedonian citizenship, as Belguim wanted him for murders. VMRO-DPMNE accuses SDSM for granting Macedonian passports to politicians from Kosovo because they were tortured by Slobodan Milosevic. I will mention only one case in regard to Mr. Veton Suroi, who got Macedonian passport in 1994/95, and who is the main link today among the Macedonian politicians, Albanian terrorists and the international monitors and is the major "gray eminence" to everything that has been happening in Macedonia," Georgievski said.
For him, all those cases are neither treason nor mistake, but a confirmation "for the Macedonian people's great heart, wishing to help to all of those who are in trouble in a certain moment."
"I connect this Macedonian great heart with our hospitality we have offered to 350.000 citizens of Kosovo during the Kosovo crisis. It is neither treason nor mistake, just a proof that the Macedonian people wish to live with the Albanians as always throughout the history. The problem, which is neither written in the current Constitution, nor in its future changes, is how shall we restore that trust," Georgievski said.
Ministry of Defense experts are inspecting Bulgarian troops in ESFOR.
Experts from the Bulgarian Army General Staff and the Ministry of Defense are inspecting Bulgarian troops under the ESFOR command in Bosnia. For the time being, there is one Bulgarian maintenance squad under Dutch command located in a Muslim enclave about 200 kilometers north from Sarajevo. The ninth Bulgarian squad would be the last Bulgarian maintenance squad sent to Bosnia. From next year on, at the insistence of the Dutch command Bulgaria would send military troops for guarding weapon storehouses. Bulgarian Army General Staff representatives were skeptical about whether Bulgarian Army could provide for financial resource for such an expanded Bulgarian participation in the ESFOR mission.
Simeon Koburg-Gotha demanded that Bulgaria becomes a member of the European Union in 2006.
Speaking for News.bg Agency before todays meeting of the European Integration Council, Simeon Koburg-Gotha said that immediate future of Bulgaria was connected with the adoption in the European Union, and this issue would be a priority in the work of the Cabinet. The goals of Bulgaria would be to finish the negotiations for joining the European Union by 2004 and to become a full-right member by the end of 2006. According to the Premier, the European integration of Bulgaria is an inner policy issue, because it concerns every Bulgarian citizen. "I would like to assure the partners of Bulgaria that we will not spare efforts in building fully functional and competitive economy in favor of the prosperity of our compatriots", he also said. At its todays meting, the European Integration Council discussed the course of the negotiations and outlined measures in view of the renewal of the negotiations at the end of the month. Almost all the Cabinet attended the meeting with the exception of Minister of Culture Bozhidar Abrashev.
Dogan's Shuttles to Premier and Parvanov.
Yesterday afternoon the leader of the MRF Ahmed Dogan took walks to the Council of Ministers and the BSP headquarters. He met the premier and later on went to No 20 'Pozitano' St., the seat of the BSP. In the Council of Ministers we reviewed some routine issues and the new political season, Dogan said later. With Georgi Parvanov, BSP leader, they commented on the situation in Macedonia and the legislative priorities. Naturally, we embarked on some probing concerning the presidential election, Dogan explained later. Within 10 days the MRF will come out with a concrete stand. Asked whether the movement will again support Peter Stoyanov like in 1996, Dogan replied that it wouldn't be obligatory. The best option for the BSP is a common nomination, equally acceptable by the MRF and the NMS II alike, Parvanov said. He was left with the impression that Dogan too approved that option. Ahmed Dogan doesn't know at all whether he will go to Macedonia. There are some indications of will for a visit on behalf of Macedonia, and not on mine, Dogan said yesterday. In recent years we overacted with the Macedonian issue and used it for home political and mainly party objectives, Dogan commented.
Bulgaria, Ukraine back disarmament in Macedonia.
SOFIA, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma said on Tuesday full rebel disarmament was crucial to preventing an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia grow into civil war.
Stoyanov and Kuchma, while on official visit to Sofia, backed a NATO-sponsored peace plan, which pends approval by Macedonian parliament.
The plan involves constitutional changes giving more civil rights to Albanians who in return have pledged to disarm and disband their rebel groups.
"The key to successful implementation of this agreement is full disarmament of Albanian terrorist groups," said Stoyanov told reporters.
"Territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Macedonia are of key importance to peace not only in the region but to Europe as a whole," he said.
Bulgaria has close cultural and historic ties with neighbouring Macedonia and fears the six-month ethnic conflict could destabilise whole Balkan region.
"The whole world should be guided by the territorial integrity and independence of Macedonia and distinguish where nationalism, terrorism and defence of national interests lie," said Kuchma.
"We support NATO's efforts for the peaceful solution to this conflict, because there is no other way," said Kuchma, adding that Ukraine was prepared to contribute to the peace process in Macedonia.
Ukraine said last month it would suspend exports of helicopters and fighter planes to Macedonia, after the West urged it to help push along a political solution to the conflict.
The two presidents spoke after seven cooperation agreements between Ukraine and Bulgaria were signed in their presence. The treaties involve cooperation in fighting crime, extradition of illegal immigrants and transit via Bulgaria of Ukrainian military contingents taking part in KFOR operations in Kosovo.