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Sofia mayor Stephan Sofiyanski arrived without lawyer in 'Razvigor', because he was summoned to testify as a witness only. Photo Stoyan Nenov
Macedonia: Albanian demos block police.
Hundreds of unarmed ethnic Albanian civilians have blocked the deployment of multi-ethnic Macedonian police patrols in some of the areas of last year's conflict.
The demonstrators blocked the main road from Tetovo north to the border with Kosovo, preventing police entering three villages.
The deployment to another town was also called off, though the patrols were able to move into some others.
The police were not planning to stay, simply register their presence and leave.
The BBC correspondent in Macedonia says the idea is to restore state control gradually over villages captured by Albanian rebels. There have already been successful deployments in more than 20 villages - but in others there is still a long way to go before ethnic hatred recedes. The Macedonian authorities say their forces again came under ethnic Albanian sniper attack near Tetovo.
Meanwhile, a former commander of the disbanded rebel force who told an international newsagency that it was reforming has been disowned by other former rebel leaders.
Macedonian daily deplores international community's pro-Albanian bias.
The moment a glimmer of hope emerged that the slightly relaxed situation in the country was a hint that the war is behind us, US intelligence services have uprooted our illusions. In a report published the day before yesterday [10 January], the US National Council for Intelligence [as published] warned that the conflict that broke out in Macedonia might well grow into a larger-scale conflict and have consequences for the entire continent. The latter appears to be verification of earlier findings from various sides that the ethnic Albanian terrorists might launch a new offensive in the spring.
Yesterday's blockades placed along the Tetovo-Jazince road, at Celopek and other places, where a total of around 2,000 ethnic Albanians opposed the activities of the ethnically mixed police patrols, are additional proof that the situation is far from rosy.
On the other hand, the New Year's "greeting" that DPA [Democratic Party of Albanians - PDSh in Albanian] leader Arben Xhaferri sent us through Fakti bears witness to these presumptions, adding fuel to the flames. How else can one interpret the latter's statement that "the war in Macedonia was the result of extremist Slav expansionism, which is aimed at our imminent colonization?" He added that the "interethnic wars that are currently being fought on Slav territories have the features of wars of decolonization". This is outrageous, even if it emanates from Xhaferri, who has been noted in the past for his gaffes and changes of positions depending on the mood and who he is talking to. We are far from seeking to embark on any kind of debate with Xhaferri on history, but it is a known fact that however frivolous his statements may be, they are still a warning about what we can expect in 2002, which we had hoped would be a year of peace following one of war.
It is almost certain that a long and exhausting road awaits us until peace is finally restored. Of course, the international community, deeply involved in the Macedonian crisis as it is, will play a key role in this process. However, prosperity will remain an unattainable goal for Macedonia unless the truth about what has been happening is brought to the surface. This cannot come to pass as long as various governmental and nongovernmental organizations, missionaries with suspicious backgrounds, and "humanitarians" and "fighters for human rights", who shy away from truth like the devil from the cross, rampage the country. All the latter appear to be "experts" in presenting to the world only the truth of the armed "human rights fighters" from the villages below Mt Sar, for reasons known to them only. The same was the case with the official version of the annual report of the Helsinki Human Rights Committee, which has been published by a number of media. It is utterly amazing how far certain domestic personalities can go in protecting ethnic Albanians' "human rights"...
"Resource wars" Ignite Around the World.
Reality Macedonia - New Scientist
Intro by Reality Macedonia web editor.
When facts, and not cunning propaganda, are taken into consideration, the pattern of pan-Albanian aggression on Macedonia fits perfectly into the scheme proposed by the authors of the following report.
For example, Polog Valley (where Tetovo and Gostivar lay), is one of the most fertile regions in the Balkans. The whole Western Macedonia has abundant mineral deposits, forests, and water springs, fit both for production of drinking water and electricity. Its large tourist potential is virtually untapped, with only 2 winter resort centers in the picturesque mountains (one of them, Popova Shapka, is closed because of the NLA siege that began in the spring of 2001). The North-Western part lies at a crossroad of important international routes, both legal and illegal.
The NLA (KLA/KPC) occupation of these territories under the pretext of fight for ethnic Albanian rights (a feeble excuse for anyone who actually bothered to check the representation of members of Albanian ethnic minority within the Government) lead to:
-Widespread plunder of personal property of citizens from all ethnic communities on the occupied territories;
-Creating a safe haven for unlawful activities, the chief benefactor being the Albanian mafia.
It now controls the drug and arms smuggling routes. One of the most important routes is the heroin trail from Afghanistan to Western Europe, but significant profits are extorted from other smuggling operations, such as cigarettes, and stolen vehicles;
-Destruction of property that could not be removed, such as houses or factories;
-Indiscriminate forestry by local NLA supporters, especially on Shara Mountain;
-Eco-terrorism: appropriation of water reserves, leading to the humanitarian catastrophe for more than 100,000 citizens of Kumanovo.
These are just some of the examples. For more information, check our archive, and read the full article on resource wars:
By Fred Pearce
A favorite prediction of environmentalism has bitten the dust - too many natural resources, rather than too few, are the cause of an increasing numbers of wars in the 21st century.
Many greens had predicted that the new century would see a rash of wars in countries where natural resources such as timber, water, minerals and fertile soils are running out. But far from it, says the 2002 State of the World report from the prestigious Washington-based think-tank, the Worldwatch Institute.
In fact, says the report's co-author Michael Renner, there are "numerous places in the developing world where abundant natural resources help fuel conflicts." More than a quarter of current conflicts are either being fought over, or are funded by, some lucrative natural resource. Examples cited by the Worldwatch Institute include:
-Diamond mines in Sierra Leone and Angola making the two African nations ripe for plunder by warlords.
-Profits from sapphires, rubies and timber arming the Khmer Rouge in their interminable jungle war in Cambodia.
-Guerillas using the threat of sabotage to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies prospecting in Colombia.
-Opium funding 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
-The Congo's continuing civil war subsisting on the proceeds of elephant tusks and coltan, a vital mineral in the manufacture of mobile phones.
With the end of the cold war, superpowers no longer fund civil wars for their own geopolitical ends, says Renner. Their place has been taken by the market - in the form of the plunder and sale of natural resources.
"Nature's bounty attracts groups that may claim they are driven by grievance, but [which] initiate violence not to overthrow a government but to gain and maintain control of lucrative resources," says Renner. Such resource wars are being fought because of "greed rather than need."
According to David Keen at the London School of Economics: "We tend to regard conflict as simply a breakdown in a particular system, rather than as the emergence of another, alternative system of profit and power," i.e. a "conflict economy" with the looting of natural resources at its heart.
Renner warns that warlords in such conflicts have no interest in winning the war, because its continuance is more profitable. And he says too many Western governments are happy to turn a blind eye as their own corporations reap the benefits in cheap no-questions-asked raw materials.
Renner argues the issue of resource conflicts should be added to the agenda of the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August 2002.
Elderly People Moved Simeon by 'White Hollyhocks'
An old woman from the Gorna Banya Home for the aged invited Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in her room, played the record of 'White Hollyhocks, Gentle Hollyhocks' song and treated him to candy. The Premier was moved by the unexpected gesture. He paid a visit to the elderly people yesterday early in the morning escorted by Vice-Premier Lidia Shoileva, to deliver them a donation from Italy. The endowment was collected by 'Queen Helena' association, assisted by Italy's Crown Prince Vitorio Emmanuelle of Savoy, who is PM's cousin. Simeon has asked him to help the donation as early as past October, but the parcel delayed for the snowdrifts. 13 tons of foods, medicines, washing soap flakes, clothes and appliances were sent gratuitously. The aid is stored in the Gorna Banya Home and will be allocated within 213 orphanages and homes for the aged. Certain part of the aid is destined to the Union of Blind, Disabled and Deaf Persons. 'I expect other organizations to sent donations as well,' PM said.
The Mayor Went to 'Razvigor' Accompanied by Assen Dyulgerov.
Sofiyanski was accused in the absence of a lawyer. The case materials will be submitted to him this Monday, the mayor hasn't decided as to who will defend him.
A little before 3.00 p.m. yesterday Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski entered N 4 Regional Investigation office at 'Razvigor' as a witness. He came out at 3.15 p.m. as an accused man. The mayor was red in the face and apparently surprised. The mayor went to 'Razvigor' without a lawyer, because he had been officially summoned only as a witness to give evidence on the deal on the Eurobonds worth of $50 million. He was accompanied solely by his guards and Assen Dyulgerov, secretary of Sofia City Hall. Mr Dyulgerov is said to have been acquainted the best with the deal. The investigating magistrate made charge against him for crime in office under Art. 282, para 3 of the Penal Code and imposed on him a 10 000 lev bail. The text of the Penal Code envisages a 3 to 10 years' imprisonment and prohibition to occupy the state or public post during which the deed has been committed. Sofiyanski said he would appeal. The case materials will be submitted to him in the presence of a lawyer this Monday. Precisely on Monday he planned the holding of the first sitting of the political council of his party Union of the Free Democrats. In the view of the mayor however the timing has nothing to do with any political considerations.
Parvanov: I Will Get Acquainted with All Bills.
I should have been informed in advance about all amendments and changes in the Military Doctrine and Defense and Armed Forces Act adopted by the Council of Ministers, said yesterday president-elect Georgi Parvanov after meeting with chairman of parliament, Ognyan Gerdzhicov. "It would be normal to divide the National Intelligence Service and the National Security from the armed forces. Thus we shall meet the requirement of NATO to reduce the strength of our army. The adopted bill, however, creates a judicial void as regards the status of these services, Parvanov said. During the meeting Parvanov and Gerdzhikov agreed that all prepared bills will be submitted to the Presidency before they are discussed in the plenary hall.
Bulgaria's Chance - In Gambling Tourism.
Bulgaria to develop gambling tourism, for which our neighbors Greece and Turkey turn to be large-scale markets. This was recommended by foreign experts to participants in the international tourist conference 'Bulgaria - Dream Country'. Due to data shown at the conference, only in Las Vegas are spent more than $30 billion per year, and about 97 percent the hotels are constantly booked.
Representatives of the tourist business insist the airlines to announce the ticket prices in euro, not only in U.S. dollars, said Yordan Karamalakov, Representative of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Paradise - Poverty and Diseases.
'Bulgaria - a Country of Dreams' was the motto of the recent tourism conference. The motto has been devised by dreamers who apparently live outside of this dream. In his message of greetings to the participants Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha also made an attempt to dream declaring Bulgaria a paradise nook. On those same two days of the conference the ordinary Bulgarian also tried to dream. Of how to overcome the snowdrifts for example, in order to reach their place of work. Dreaming of that were only the employed, naturally. Because the official statistics in the dream-country keeps silence about it, but it is known that on the eve of 2002 nearly 1 000 000 of its subjects wished themselves jobs. Having swallowed another dream of theirs - the rise in the prices of electric and heating energy - these same subjects of the paradise nook have now been looking forward to the three consumer bills for December, a world phenomenon, to reach their mail boxes. 70% of them - because according to a rough estimate, such is the percentage of the sick people in the country of the fairy-tales, buy more expensive medicines as of yesterday. In the meantime, police has blocked the roads of the dream-country to catch the rampaging highway bandits, the victims of whom are usually foreign tourists. There is also a lot of life in rustic tourism. It is to again become a priority and attraction for world tourists. No doubt, it will happen for sure 100%. Where else on earth can villages be seen with some ten or so old men in them, left without electricity and water, without any bread here and there. Not to mention the vanguard eco-tourism. Or the more ordinary one. Along the town streets where elderly people search the dustbins. According to the forecasts of the forum some 10 million foreign tourists will visit Bulgaria in 2020. Only most of us, the dreamers, may not live to see the miracle.
Arms Law Influenced by Lobbies.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Roumen Stoilov
Police is a reflection of the plight of the state, says deputy interior minister Roumen Stoilov.
- Mr Stoilov, what will be the activity and powers of the council for struggle against corruption headed by you in the IM?
- The chief secretary occupies himself with defining, distributing and directing the corruption warnings among the IM employees. The coordinating council will analyze reports and information on the ways of organizing the activity meant to detect corruption, the results and the way of improving this activity. It will also deal with problems which could help remove the conditions and reasons for corrupting the UM employees.
- Coordination between the services is among the major problems of the IM. In your capacity of deputy minister, what efforts have you launched in this direction?
- By law the chief secretary of the IM is in charge of interaction and there existed evidence of this as early as the new government took office. By an order of Prof. Georgi Petkanov I was appointed as department deputy minister to be in charge of improving the coordination between the national and territorial services.
- Which are the other weak points in the IM?
- There could have been done more concerning Eurointegration. I'd like that the Bulgarian policeman look like his European colleague. Regrettably, he is a reflection of the state of the country, of its plight. Regrettably, the absence of up-to-date equipment and the level of the training of policemen are the basic things which impede the successful work of the police.
- The amendments to the law of arms are forthcoming. Aren't the legally possessed arms in Bulgaria too much?
- There is no decision to fully resolve the problem of arms possession. Great attention must be attached to the selection of the people to be entitled to possess arms. Or to put it in other words, there should be higher requirements concerning arms licences. What counts the most is that people be taught to keep the arms they possess. Whether the guns are several or one isn't as important as the way one will keep them.
- Will these amendments be accepted?
- I hope so. What's worse is that the people who draft and pass laws and the amendments are influenced by lots of lobbies.
- What are these lobbies?
- You'll know them by their proposals.
NMS-party Is Not Business of Parliamentary Group.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Plamen Panayotov
No doubt that Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will become leader of the party, says Plamen Panayotov, chief of the NMS parliamentary group.
- Mr. Panayotov, why are you in such a hurry with the registration of the NMS-party? Simeon Saxe-Coburg wanted to do it on April 6, didn't he?
- If you let me remind you, in Borvets we took the decision to form three working groups. One of them had to take up all organizational issues. This organizing committee offered several options, as regards timing and then we chose January 26. We are not in a hurry. On the contrary, as you know this has been our wish for a long time. Since before the elections.
- Has Simeon Saxe-Coburg approved the date Janury 26, yet?
- Yes, it was concerted with all. We do not expect any confusions, of course if nothing untoward happens that will make us postpone it.
- Will you manage to persuade Tosho Peikov and Vessela Draganova to disband their parties and join the NMS?
- There is no need persuading them. As the old saying goes "The wish is father to the thought". So the final decision will be theirs.
- Is it possible that the newly established NMS-party will be left without a parliamentary group?
- You will see what is actually possible after the constituent meeting decides what will be the statutes of this new formation. Let's not make wild guesses now.
- Did the NMS deputies protest against the fact that they learnt the date, January 26, from the media again?
- The parliamentary group has nothing to do with it. We have repeatedly declared that this a political issue. Those who want to take part in the establishment of the party are welcome, those who don't decide for themselves. This is not the business of the parliamentary group. No doubt about it. Why should we mix up these things?
- Will the entire parliamentary group be invited to the constituent conference?
- Yes, all will be invited. But no one can be forced to become a party member.
- Will Simeon Saxe-Coburg become the leader?
- There is no doubt who will become the leader, his name is Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha!
EU has already drafted new Yugoslav constitutional framework, says talks member.
Novi Sad, 12 January: Ranking official of Montenegro's People's Party Predrag Drecun told the Saturday [12 January] issue of the Novi Sad daily Gradjanski list that, according to some available information, Brussels has drawn a constitutional framework for the redefinition of the Yugoslav federation.
"Roughly speaking, this document sees Yugoslavia as a union of Serbia and Montenegro, that is a single state, with a single political and international legal personality and several fields of federation's competence," said Drecun, who is a member of the expert team which reviewed the federation's future at meetings initiated by the European Union in the past few weeks.
Drecun believes that "unless we accept its recommendations regarding the federal state's future, the European Union will again isolate our country".
Speaking about the reactions of EU representatives who observed the federation talks, Drecun said that "on the first day they just observed, on the second day they drew attention to their opposing stands, while on the third day they assessed with regret that we did not do what was expected of us at the consultations".
Drecun said that he expected nothing special from the announced top-level meeting, since he believed that "existing differences will be merely reaffirmed".
Kosovo: Three grenades thrown into flat in Kosovska Mitrovica.
Pristina, 12 January: Kfor [Kosovo Force] spokesman Daz Slaven said today that three grenades were thrown into a flat in [Serb populated] northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica yesterday. Another two grenades which failed to explode were destroyed by Kfor members.
Slaven said that Kfor had detained six persons in the Djeneral Jankovic area believed to be involved in a bomb attack on a petrol station on 29 November .