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Photo of the day, PRESIDENT-INAUGURATION. BTA
New head of state Georgi Purvanov (top) gets a hearty welcome while his predecessor Petar Stoyanov waves sad farewell to the nation. Lyulin Stamenov/Sofia Echo
Parvanov Gains Power. A photo shows Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov (R) with his predecessor Petar Stoyanov during the official power hand-over ceremony in Sofia, January 22. cEPA
General Borissov to Anchor for Darik Radio. General Boiko Borissov will be the anchor-man of a 30-minute talk-show devoted to the anniversary of the Darik Radio. There was no scenario. "I have it all in my head", jokingly said the chief secretary of Interior. To tease the criminal reporters, he broke a sensational news that a dangerous bandit was busted up. Another guest of the radio-show, defense minister Svinarov, confused vice-premier Lidia Shouleva with reporter Margarita Michneva. Photo by Kiril Konstantinov
The hulk of two high-rises nicknamed "the twin towers'' sit unfinished in the center of Tirana, Albania, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2002. Albanian authorities said Tuesday they have frozen the assets of Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, the co-owner of Karavan Construction, an Arab construction company financing the multimillion-dollar project. Kadi is suspected of laundering money for Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
One House In Varvara Burned Down By The Terrorists.
Tetovo, January 22 (MIA) - The house of Trpko Angelkoski, an ethinc Macedonian, was totally burned in the fire set by the Albanian terrorists in the village of Varvara. Monday afternoon Angelkoski succeeded to arrive to the village together with the OSCE representative. The fire has not been extinguished due to security reasons. The citizens of Varvara say that so far the terrorists have burnt 10 houses, demolished 'Sveta Petka' Church and damaged and robbed several houses of the expelled Macedonians.
Kfor commander says Macedonian-Kosovo border "serious problem" in region.
French General Marcel Valentin, commander in chief of Kfor [Kosovo Force] in Kosovo, has said that the border between Kosovo and Macedonia, which Kfor unfortunately does not control at all, represents a serious problem in the region. He said that Kfor's chief objective was to avoid Kosovo's emergence as a shelter for terrorists who operate in Macedonia. He stressed, however, that he could not deploy a soldier on each metre of the Kosovo-Macedonian border, nor could he search all the vehicles that cross the border. Gen Valentin expressed his regret that Kosovo's multiethnic parliament still has not elected the province's president, because the absence of a government further affects the guarantee of a safe border.
The Legacy of War: Kidnapped Persons in Macedonia.
by Christopher Deliso
January 22, 2002
On a cold winter's night in the parliament building in Skopje, I have come to speak with some of the truly innocent victims of war. They have been here since 21 December, the relatives of Macedonians kidnapped by the NLA during 2001. In shifts, they silently protest their government's and the international community's lack of progress in the search for their loved ones. The faces of the three men who agreed to speak with me show their ongoing pain. Mostly, they look numb, and there is no doubting the reasons for their complaints of depression and sleeplessness. One man's son, another's father, another's brother-in-law. All of them were taken, not as prisoners of war, but while they were working or relaxing in their homes.
A wave of NLA kidnappings took place over the summer in the villages of Neproshtino, Japciste, Dobrishte, Drenovic and Belovishte. All of these villages are situated in the lawless western region of the country, between Tetovo and the uncontrollable border with Kosovo. While scores of Macedonians were abducted up to 52 in one day, in Neproshtino many were later released. The fate of these 12 prisoners, however, is unknown.
Between 8 June and 26 July, ten Macedonian villagers were kidnapped. Many of these were kidnapped after the announcing of a ceasefire on 5 July. The last two were taken on 31 August, well after the signing of the Framework Document on 13 August. Six of the victims were between the ages of 25-30, and another six were elderly people, between 50-70 years old.
There was no pretext or warning for the kidnappings, and the NLA demanded no ransom. The victims simply vanished. Some were taken from their fields where they worked; some were taken from their own houses. All were unarmed, and well-known to the local Albanians. Witnesses recognized some of the abductors as local Albanians, dressed in black with the NLA emblem emblazoned on their uniforms.
One man related to me one particularly sad kidnapping. It was of a young man and woman who had been married for just one day when they were taken. They were kept together for one day, and then separated. After three days the young woman was released, but her husband was not. He remains a captive of the NLA. There would be no honeymoon for that couple.
Surprisingly, out of the twelve kidnapped persons is one American citizen, 52-year-old Boshko Dimitrievski from the village of Belovishte. He came to Macedonia several years ago from the US, in order to take care of his mentally-disabled brother. Both of them were kidnapped at the same time. I was surprised, I told them, that the US embassy had not done anything about this. My interlocutors just shrugged. Apparently negotiations failed.
Indeed, the hopelessness of the men I spoke with stems from the lack of results they have gotten from the state and international authorities. While assurances are periodically made, it has now been almost six months since the kidnappings, and there is no sign of any progress. Said one of the men,
"from the first moment, the Red Cross was informed, and the OSCE, and the European monitors. And they said 'we're making an investigation,' but they're not making any results they only ask me if I know where they are."
I asked them if they believe their relatives are still alive. The men believed that they are: "our information on the ground is suggesting that all twelve are alive and that they (the NLA) are waiting for the right moment to release them." They told me what they meant by this "right time." They believe that the NLA is not releasing their prisoners so as to have a bargaining chip, should war start up again in the Spring. But the families of the kidnapped are getting fed-up. Said one man,
"We have seen that there are no results, and that our state cannot help, for the well-known reason that they have no access (to the NLA-held villages). We're saying to them quite openly, we will stay here for some days, and after we will have to take our protests to the offices where the EU presence is."
I asked them if they had any message for the outside world, regarding their situation. They were glad, they said, to make a statement first of all, to reiterate that none of the kidnapped persons had been captured during combat. They also wanted to express their frustration at the lack of media coverage of their plight, and the continuing intimidation they felt. Said the youngest man, "every day I'm searching for some information about my father, up and down the road to Tetovo and as I pass they (the Albanians) are cursing me." To this, an older man added, "if it had been twelve Albanians kidnapped in this way, there would have been every day protests and even military actions." The others nodded in agreement. "But we we are protesting peacefully, in the Macedonian way."
Five companies applied for the concession about the modernization of the MIG-29 airplanes.
Representatives of News.bg Agency witnessed the opening of the offers of companies that bought tender documents for participation in the modernization of the MIG-29 airplanes. Minister Nikolay Svinarov has created a special Commission to look at the offers. The Commission is including representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Chamber of Accountancy, Ministry of Defense and the airforce. Deputy Chairman of the Commission Gen. Evgeniy Mandajiev opened the offers. The five companies are the Russian consortium MIG, the Israeli company Elbit Systems, EADS consortium between German, French and Spanish companies, the Israeli company IAI, and the Baranovich airplane factory from Belarus. The Commission must pronounce in a 7-day period.
Simeon To Become Grandfather for the Tenth Time.
This time however, the happy event is to take place in the family of Koubrat and his wife. At the beginning of January she told the Spanish press of her third pregnancy. According to doctors the child will be a girl.
The premier and his wife Margarita received piles of flowers for their ruby wedding, his personal press secretary Galya Dicheva said. Tens of bouquets arrived in 'Vrana' despite the intention of the premier's family not to mark their own anniversary by any special celebration.
Protocol Envisages 21 Salutes Today.
For exactly 1,15 min, as long as the national hymn lasts, the soldiers from the national guards will fire 21 salutes. Thus the change of the presidential power will be celebrated.
Major Manuk Pabuchian will command the shots of the guns in the Boris Garden. He is an officer in the Bulgarian army and a commander of the artillery division to the guards.
The number of the salutes is fixed by the state protocol.
It was coordinated with the UN standards. Gun shots are envisaged in the protocol only when there are some events connected with the presidential institution or when the Bulgarian head of state greets his colleague. But the condition here is that the visit should obligatory be an official one.
Maxim to Hold Service for President Parvanov.
Patriarch Maxim and the bishops postponed the sitting of the Holy Synod, fixed for today, to hold a service for the health and success of new President Georgi Parvanov. The service will start at 10.00 a.m. in the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. "We are expected the president to attend in person. We invited him to," employees of the Synodal Palace said.
In the meanwhile, it transpired that the Patriarch sent Metropolitan Simeon on a mission to Pope John Paul II in Assisi on January 23 for the prayer week. For seven days the heads of diverse confessions are praying for peace and nonviolence. Chief Mufti Selim Mehmed also leaves for Assisi.
Peter Stoyanov to Fly to USA in February.
Ex-president is to lecture for three months.
Peter Stoyanov is to fly for the USA in early February, "Standart" learned. He is visiting Washington at the invitation of the American Congress and will stay there for three months. Stoyanov will lecture at several of the big US universities on the problems of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. His wife Antonina Stoyanova and his daughter Fani are leaving together with him. The ex-president will spend much of his time to work at the library of the American Congress which is the richest one worldwide and has an enormous Balkans stock. In his peroration yesterday Stoyanov stressed that he was right when during the crisis in Kosovo did not let Bulgaria to miss the chances for EU and NATO membership. "This Euro-Atlantic solidarity helped us to start the negotiations with the EU and ended in the removal of the visa regime," Stoyanov said.
Bulgaria Co-founder of Police Association.
Bulgaria was among the countries founders of the Association of Police Directors in Southeastern Europe, said Gen. Vassil Vassilev on his return from the Croatian town of Pula yesterday. There, all the heads of national polices services in Eastern Europe gathered. With the newly founded association, four commissions will be set up - for public relations, work with minorities, information technologies and for training senior police officers, Gen. Vassilev elaborated. On March 8, Bulgaria will host a session of the association on the topic "Countries and Information Technologies".
Moscow Mayor: Kostov Lied to Me.
Yesterday Moscow Mayor Yurii Louzhkov scolded our official delegation for the frozen relations with Russia. He explained that his country had lost a lot from the lack of Bulgarian aubergine paste, compots, perfumery, raw materials for cosmetics and cigarettes. He spoke of his drama with our former premier Ivan Kostov who agreed on the manufacture of 4000 engines for the Moskvich cars in the 'Vamo' plant in Varna. Later on the mayor of Moscow arrived in Bulgaria and announced he had found British creditors. However, the credit had to be guaranteed by the state. Kostov explicitly refused to do so. 'This is only one of the ways in which our traditionally good relations were frozen', Louzhkov stressed explicitly. He asked the Bulgarian delegation to convey best regards to his colleague and good friend Stefan Sofiyanski.
Bulgaria and Greece Are Exemplar for the Region.
His E. Michaelis Christidis
Greece's Ambassador to Bulgaria
Exclusively for "Standart"
Today the first working meeting of Mr Simitis and Mr Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will be held. The two leaders will have the opportunity to talk about all issues in line with straightening the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy, trade, transport, environment and in technical, technological and cultural cooperation.
Premier Mr Simitis will have also the opportunity to discuss with his Bulgarian counterpart foreign policy issues of bilateral interest, and especially the ones concerning the situation in Southeastern Europe, the struggle of the international community against terrorism and pending enlargement of the HATO and EU. As for the latter, Greece's premier will have the opportunity, after his recent visit to the USA, to confirm the staunch and principled policy carried out by the Greek cabinet and by him personally to support and forward the request of Bulgaria to be included into the next wave of NATO enlargement, as well as for the progress of the EU negotiations for Bulgaria's EU membership.
Additionally, the two leaders will discuss problems of the trans-border cooperation and development, aiming to facilitate the contacts and relations between the two peoples.
Today, Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Papandreou and Minister of State Administration Dimitar Kalchev will sign the papers on ratification of the bilateral agreement on avoidance of the double assessment, expected to give a further boost and to contribute to even better results from the economic relations between the two countries.
Generally, the relations between Bulgaria and Greece have acquired strategic importance not only on a bilateral level, but on international as well, because these relations can both be exemplary and are a major factor in the stability and development of our region.
Power Export for Turkey after 2008 is Questionable.
Turkey will uphold the strict observance of the agreement. To Bulgaria's requirement on extension of the power export's term after 2008, Ankara will answer in the future, but the reply would reportedly depend on the 'attitude of the Bulgarian part in keeping up the agreement, Ismet Sever - representative of 'Ceylan Insaat Holding' in Sofia, said.
Good Neighbors Should Meet More Often.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
There are no opponents to the Bourgas-Alexandrouplis oil pipe line, says Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for the Greek 'Angelioforos tis Kiriakis' newspaper.
- Greek Premier Kostas Simitis will visit your country. What is the level of cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece today?
- I'll be glad to meet Mr Simitis here, in Sofia. I believe that being good neighbors like us, the meetings should be held more often than envisaged by the protocol. Our relations with your country are of exceptional significance for our foreign political goal - the country's European integration and NATO membership. I think that we have things to do in various spheres of life. I'd mention a number of infrastructure projects - Corridor N 4, the opening of the agreed new BCP (Border check points), the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipe line.
- What about the state of things around the infamous Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipe line? Are you alarmed by the fact that the USA and other counties prefer alternative corridors for transferring oil from the Caspian sea?
- In this particular case we don't have the impression that there are opponents to this oil pipe line project. Just the opposite, the signals are more than encouraging.
- Some voice fears because of the role and influence Russia might acquire in the Balkans in future. What is your opinion of this?
- Our relations with Russia are based on the market principle too. Our aim is to restore Bulgaria's positions on the Russian markets and overcome the unfavorable to us trade balance in recent years.
- What do you think would be the best thing for Macedonia and the neighboring states?
- I'm not the type of man to give advice to his neighbors. As for the Republic of Macedonia, it is a neighbor of ours and is a sovereign state. To us it is extremely important to have prospering and peaceful neighbors.
- Taking into account the fact that all people in the Balkans today talk of 'autonomy' and 'self-determination', do you fear the setting forth of similar demands in Bulgaria in the immediate or in the more distant future?
- The life of most Bulgarian citizens is not easy at the moment. The government doesn't determine its concern for the people depending on their ethnic or religious belonging. It is my view that more political forces should take part in the rule and try thus to jointly improve the life of people. I believe that the cabinet is a testimony of tolerance. At the moment Bulgaria needs a consensus to revive the national values - entrepreneurship, industriousness, morality. More than ever we should rally together to achieve our goals along the road to Europe.
Don't Underestimate Simeon, He Has Hidden Resources.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Mihail Mirchev
I advise BSP to put more people in power, no resignations of ministers will be demanded, Mihail Mirchev, says director of the ASSA-M polling agency.
- Are the positions of the ruling majority getting unstable?
- The positions of the present NMS - as a parliamentary group and corresponding government - are shaky and become more shaky every week. But one shouldn't draw the wrong conclusion that the resources of Simeon have been exhausted. On the contrary - he continues to have considerable resources. To me they are kept in secret, not made public yet. They will come in use at some next stage. The crisis in the NMS - in the parliamentary group and possibly in the government as a whole - isn't identical with a crisis caused by the presence of Simeon II in our political life. Having this in mind, one shouldn't make haste. Take the opposition for example, be it left-or right-wing, - it shouldn't make wrongful plans that very soon we are in for government and parliamentary crisis. And apart from it, they must have a clear idea as to whether they are prepared to run the country. The problem is in their competence to take up this task.
- The PG of the BSP discussed this issue in Bansko. Are there expectations that resignations of ministers will be demanded?
- I think there aren't. This was one of the main issues on the agenda - the power and whether the BSP wants it or not, what configuration would it accept, what type of preparations should be made. I haven't heard that resignations of any ministers had been demanded.
- Have there been any radical changes in the cabinet of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, is there a chance that BSP would like to have more ministerial posts?
- I think that the opposition, in this case the BSP, is very interested in ushering as many as possible of its people in state institutions and managerial structures of all levels. In recent years, BSP was pushed out from the whole system of power with rare exceptions, like the local governing structures. So, this may come as one of the main problems. If one wants to take the political power, before that he has to spread his nimenclature network over all state structures.
- Should there be a tripartite agreement between the NMS, MRF and BSP to serve this purpose?
- No official document would be discussed, it's a matter of agreement between the leaders.
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy Visits Denmark,Meets High Officials.
Copenhagen, January 22 (BTA exclusive by Svetla Tanova, National Television special correspondent) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy's visit to Denmark started with a meeting with his counterpart Per Stig Muller.
The meeting took place in the same building in which the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria, whose President Passy is, was admitted to the Atlantic Treaty Association. Later on Passy will confer with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Parliament Speaker Ivar Hansen. Queen Margrete of Denmark is expected to give Passy an audience. The Bulgarian foreign minister will present a lectureat the Danish Foreign Political Society on NATO enlargement.
BULGARIA - PRESIDENT - GREECE - PRIME MINISTER.
Purvanov-Simitis Meeting: Balkan Borders Cannot Be Reshaped.
Sofia, January 22 (BTA) - Meeting here on Tuesday, Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed their countries' common position that to reshape national borders in the Balkans is unacceptable. Instead, stabilization should be sought, and European countries should concentrate on economic investment which is conducive to regional peace and restoration, rather than try to put out fires.
This position was presented to the press by the President's Foreign Policy Secretary Georgi Dimitrov, who attended the first international meeting of the new head of state. Simitis paid a one-day working visit here at the invitation of Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Simitis reportedly pledged continued support for Bulgaria's efforts towards EU and NATO membership. Purvanov thanked Simitis for Greece's assistance in this field so far.
"Bulgaria will continue to support NATO's efforts in the Balkans, acting as a de facto member of the Alliance and hoping that this commitment will be duly recognized at the NATO summit in Prague in November," Purvanov said, as quoted by his Foreign Policy Secretary.
The sides found they share similar positions on principal European and regional issues, Dimitrov said. Purvanov and Simitis believe that Bulgarian-Greek relations are a factor for stability in the Balkans.
Purvanov and Simitis also noted that the excellent political and economic relations between the two countries should be promoted still further. Both sides are willing to step up the work on the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, Dimitrov said.
Purvanov said he remembers well Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos's latest visit to Bulgaria and the positive reports on former president Peter Stoyanov's visit to Greece. Purvanov extended an invitation for the Greek President to visit Sofia again. The Greek side said Purvanov would be most welcome in Athens.
Serbia: Multiethnic police unit praised for fight against terrorism.
Belgrade, 22 January: The head of the SUP [Interior Ministry] branch in Vranje, Novica Zdravkovic, today said in Bujanovac that policemen in the SUP branches in Presevo and Bujanovac, although of different nationalities, faith and customs, were making significant results in the fight against terrorism and protection of people and property.
Zdravkovic was speaking at a press conference on the occasion of the first [working] day for members of the second corps of multiethnic police, which has 53 policemen, 10 of which are women.
Milosevic trial will be a "comedy," says lawyer.
BELGRADE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A controversial French lawyer advising Slobodan Milosevic said on Tuesday the U.N. war crimes trial against the ousted Yugoslav leader next month would be a "legal comedy" which he would unmask.
Jacques Verges, who in the past has represented former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie and international guerrilla Carlos the Jackal, told a news conference in Belgrade the U.N. court in the Hague had been set up illegally.
Echoing the views of Milosevic, he accused it of seeking to justify NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, launched to halt Serbian repression of Kosovo's Albanian majority when Milosevic was in power.
In pre-trial hearings, a defiant Milosevic has said he does not recognise the U.N. court and has declined to appoint defence lawyers, but has received advice from both Yugoslav and foreign legal experts.
Verges said he and other lawyers would not represent Milosevic in court but would publicly denounce NATO, drawing up a list of the "cultural monuments, hospitals, maternity wards, and other civilian facilities" NATO bombed in 1999.
"I have accepted to be an adviser of president Milosevic because I believe the legal comedy which is being prepared in the Hague is a challenge against all men of law in the world," he said.
Milosevic, whose trial on Kosovo war crimes charges is due to start on February 12, is also accused of crimes against humanity during the Croatian conflict and of genocide during the Bosnian war in the early 1990s.
Verges and a group of other attorneys have filed a case against the Netherlands at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg arguing that Milosevic's transfer to the Hague last year was illegal and violated human rights.
The Strasbourg court had said it would examine the case, Verges said.
Speculation has swirled in Yugoslav media about the identities of witnesses U.N. prosecutors might call to testify, with several former allies of Milosevic denying reports they would appear.
The lawyer for Milosevic's feared state security chief Rade Markovic, accused of multiple murder and held in a Belgrade jail, said U.N. investigators had interrogated his client for three days.
Lawyer Dusan Masic told Reuters Markovic had said he was ready to tell the truth in any court, but added he did not believe the former state security chief would be summoned.
"He told them he had done everything according to the law and nothing outside the law," Masic said.