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A model displays a lace outfit as a part of Bulgarian fashion designer Diana Atanasova's collection in Sofia, late March 27, 2002. REUTERS/Dimitar Dilkoff
Departmental Situational Center - Inauguration. A NATO-standard compliant Departmental Situational Center for the Management of Crises, Disasters and Accidents opened at the Transport Ministry. Photo: Yanko Yankov, director of Transport Ministry's Crisis Management Directorate, and General Staff Chief Colonel General Miho Mihov. PressPhoto - BTA Photo: Tihomir Penov
Hurricane Swept Away Library and Houses. Hurricane raged in Southeastern Bulgaria yesterday. The natural disaster ruined houses in Varna region and blew off the roof of the Tervel's culture club. Snow buried the Shipka passage. Emergency teams cleaned the snow-drifts and dragged out hard hit trucks and cars until late night yesterday. Tracing down of three fishermen, who disappeared during the sea storm near Varna, lasted for over 8 hours. Photo BTA
ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN MACEDONIA AND TURKEY - DISCUSSED AT BUSINESS FORUM IN ISTANBUL.
In the frameworks of the two-day visit to Turkey, Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski is to participate in the Business Forum in Istanbul, organized by the Board for International Economic Relations.
The Vice-Premier, Zoran Krstevski and the Minister of Economy, Besnik Fetai, who are members of the Macedonian delegation in Turkey, will have an address at this Forum.
The main topics of discussion at this Forum, participated by entrepreneurs of 37 Macedonian companies, will be "The current political and economic situation in the Republic of Macedonia", "Terms for investments in the Macedonian economy" and "The process of privatization in the Republic of Macedonia up till now".
As scheduled, Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski is Wednesday to pay a visit to the Patriarch of Constantinople and have a meeting with the patriarch Vartolomey.
Macedonian and Turkish Presidents Boris Trajkovski and Ahmet Necdet Sezer stressed after their Tuesday meeting that the relations between the two countries are based on mutual understanding.
According to MIA's special correspondent, the two presidents told the press conference that there are no open issues between Macedonia and Turkey and that there are solutions for all issues.
The assessed the tete-a-tete meeting as very useful and constructive, and according to them it would be a new impulse in the international relations.
Sezer said that the meeting focused on the development of the economic-trade relations, and the option of their promotion.
"Turkey stimulates the private sector to invest in Macedonia as much as possible," Sezer said, adding that the both countries will benefit from the development of these relations.
Trajkovski believes that additional activities are necessary for promoting the economic cooperation and direct presence of the Turkish businessmen in Macedonia.
Trajkovski emphasized that support has been requested from Turkey for realization of Macedonian aspirations for NATO membership, and assurance has been given that Turkey will strongly support Macedonia prior to the Alliance's Summit in Prague.
In the field of defense, it was agreed Turkey to continue to support the training and the direct assistance to Macedonia, Trajkovski said.
The meeting also focused on the cultural cooperation, and according to the two presidents it was agreed to open Turkish cultural center in Macedonia.
"Successful cooperation is expected on cultural as well as on educational plan, but also in the field of local self-government," President Trajkovski said.
This evening, Sezer organized a formal dinner in honor of his Macedonian counterpart Trajkovski in Ankara.
Sezer said that Turkey and Macedonia succeeded in creating strong and permanent useful relations, which, according to him, can serve as an example for all Balkan countries.
"We followed your reasonable politics and cooperation with the international community during the attacks with approval. We believe that the reform process of constitutional changes and the passing of the Law on local self-government will be finished with the same result", Sezer said.
He emphasised that one of the basic principles of the Framework Agreement was "equitable presentation".
"We express our wish for Turks, who are loyal Macedonian citizens, to be suitably represented in all structures of the central and local power. We consider that Turks in Macedonia will play a more positive and constructive role in the relations between Turkey and Macedonia", Turkish President said.
Finally, he emphasised that the cooperation and solidarity between Turkey and Macedonia were a significant step forward for the stability and security of the Balkan region.
President Trajkovski expressed his gratitude to the Republic of Turkey for the support and the assistance in our efforts to deal with the attempts for destabilisation and endangerment of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Macedonia.
"Macedonia was, and still is, an example in the region, regarding the decisions on the rights of minorities, for which it received high remarks from the international factors. I can assure you that the dialog and the efforts for enhancement of the human rights has never ceased. In this context, I want to emphasise the cooperation of the Turkish ethnic community in Macedonia in overcoming of the crisis situation and the assurance that the constitutional changes will create conditions for suitable presentation of communities in the Parliament and the public administration", the Macedonian President said.
He expressed his assurance that the relations between both countries, which, as he said, "are treated as strategic partnership on our part", will be characterised by the spirit of friendly mutual understanding and cooperation in the future.
Earlier today, Trajkovski met with Turkish Prime Minister Bulen Ecevit, with Omer Izgi, Chairman of the Great Turkish Assembly, with the Minister of Economy, Kemal Dervis, as well as with the members of the parliamentary group for Macedonian-Turkish friendship.
At all meetings, most of the interest shown was in regard to the new Macedonian electoral legislation. In that context, hope was expressed that the Turkish community in Macedonia would be proportionally represented in the Parliament.
At the meeting between Trajkovski and Ecevit, it was underlined that Turkey, as a NATO country with largest army, is ready to provide assistance to the Macedonian Army to adjust its structure in accordance with the NATO standards as well as to provide training for the Macedonian officers.
Chairman of the Turkish Parliament Mr. Izgi said that Turkey supports Macedonia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
At the meeting with the Turkish minister of economy, the need from construction of the Corridor 8 project was underlined. In that context, it was stressed that the oil pipeline that should start from Bulgaria, and to proceed to Albania via Macedonia should be also constructed.
Members of the parliamentary group for Macedonian-Turkish friendship informed President Trajkovski that this group is composed of more than 150 deputies, most of whom have roots from Macedonia. They expressed readiness to help in the strengthening of the cooperation between the two countries on all levels.
Dosta Dimovska, Director of the Macedonian Intelligence Agency, who is also in the Macedonian delegation, met today with her Turkish counterpart Emret Paner. The meeting was focused on the cooperation between the two agencies and on the exchange of experiences.
Governor of the Macedonian Central Bank Ljube Trpevski met with the general director of the Turkish "Ziraat Bank" in Ankara.
The visit of President Boris Trajkovski to the Republic of Turkey has been postponed several times over the last year, due to the worsened security situation in the Republic of Macedonia.
ECONOMIC TOPICS DOMINATED AT THE WEDNESDAY GOVERNMENTAL SESSION.
Central topic at the Wednesday governmental session was the issue concerning the bankrupt companies especially the effects from the launched bankruptcy procedures and the liquidation of the bankrupt-companies, as well as the governmental social package that is under development.
Gjorgji Trendafilov, spokesman of the Macedonian government, reported that the governmental social program "ought to be stimulative and to cause long-term effects," adding that it would not be meant only for the workers from the bankrupt companies.
The government suggests the trade union to be actively included in the realization of the social program, having in mind the arrangements that Macedonia has made with the international organizations.
The government also supported the decision for staff reinforcement of the internal control department that operates under the Ministry of Finance.
JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE OF NATO, OSCE AND EU.
The international community strongly condemns the violence perpetrated Monday night in the village Mala Recica near Tetovo, NATO Ambassador to Macedonia Klaus Vollers said Wednesday at a press conference.
"We reiterate our full support for the peace process and efforts to implement the Framework Agreement. We fully support those persons and groups who are dedicated to peace and reconciliation and those that are continuing to work on the full implementation of the Framework Agreement," Vollers said.
The actions of Monday night would not stop the peace process, redeployment of police and progress towards unity and prosperity of all of Macedonia.
"The act is in contrary to the interests of all citizens of Macedonia no matter their ethnicity. Those who continue to promote violence and criminal activity as political means will not be allowed to set the agenda for this country, nor will their actions turn Macedonia away from its goal of being a peaceful, stable and prosperous part of modern Europe," Vollers said.
NATO spokesman Craig Ratkliff confirmed the information on clashes in Male Recica Monday night between two armed groups.
"It is true that several mortars were used and that at least two persons were killed, and not ten, as some sources say. We do not believe that this incident is a beginning of civil war or of some virtual spring offensive. We are not an investigative body and have no mandate to conduct an investigation on this incident, " Ratkliff said.
Task Force Fox teams, which were in routine patrol in Mala Recica, informed their headquarters at 22.15 hour Monday that shootings had been heard in the area.
'We have sent additional teams to follow the situation, so that we may help the Government by providing true information on the developments there," Ratkliff said, denying the claims that TFF sent rescuing team in Mala Recica to pull out a political leader of the former NLA Ali Ahmeti.
"Ahmeti was there several hours before the incident. When the incident happened he was not even close to the village," Ratkliff said.
The shootings stopped half an hour after midnight, but the TFF teams remained in Mala Recica all night. At the morning, they visited the spot and found out that there were at least two killed and three wounded persons.
"No other investigation has been conducted so far, which could confirm or deny our findings, " Ratkliff said.
Vollers, whose mandate is to expire on Saturday, expressed hope that peace would be restored in Macedonia, focusing the attention of all on economic and not on political issues.
Asked if he made wrong assessment by saying that Albanians were disarmed and "ANA" was only a virtual organization, having one or two computers, Vollers said the international community knew that "ANA" had people on the ground, but had no information on its structure.
"Despite the press releases signed by "ANA", we know nothing about its structure. Maybe all of those who are against the country's prosperity call themselves "ANA", but we don't know whether there are several groups or just one organization with this name," Vollers said.
Referring to a last night attack on the police checkpoint in the village of Aracinovo, Ratkliff said that TFF teams found no evidence on the spot.
Asked about amnesty justification, considering the fact that pardoned persons took part in the incident in Mala Recica, the NATO Ambassador said that the last year crisis should be forgotten.
"We should focus on the future. The amnesty is justified and Albanians should hold on their promises," Vollers said.
The Crisis Management Center should decide whether police would enter the village of Sipkovica tomorrow, OSCE spokesman Florin Pasniku said.
"The OSCE mission has never made such decisions. Its main task is to support the redeployment process and to give recommendations, based on developments on the ground. However, OSCE will not allow any obstruction of this process by violent groups,'" Pasniku said.
The so-called "ANA" communiqués were against the interests of Albanians in Macedonia, EU spokesperson Irena Gjuzelova said.
"Vast majority of the Albanians in Macedonia supports the peace process. The European Union welcomes all of those who support the peace process, including the police redeployment, which is progressing faster than expected," she said.
Gjuzelova also expressed satisfaction with the fast enforcing of amnesty law.
"So far, amnesty has been granted to eight prisoners, 11 persons in custody, 179 persons, who were subject of court procedures and 459 persons, who did not respond to the ARM invitations or deserted, " she added.
MESSAGE ON WORLD THEATRE DAY.
On the occasion of World Theatre Day, March 27, Macedonian center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) within UNESCO, conveys the message by the Indian writer Girish Kanrad as well the message from Macedonia by the play writer, Sasko Nasev.
In his message, Kanrad - currently a director of the Nehru Center, culture department of the High Commiserate of India in London, points out the story of the birth of Drama, told in the first chapter of " Natyasastra", one of the world's earliest treatises on theatre, which dates back to the third century B.C.
" There was a time when the world was sunk in moral turpitude. People had become slaves to irrational passions. A new means had to be found (pleasing to the eyes and ears as well as edifying) which could uplift humanity", tells Kanrad. He further went saying, "Brahma, the Creator, combined the elements from four Vedas (secred texts) to form a fifth text, the Veda of Performance."
" But since the gods are not capable of the discipline of drama, the new Veda was passed on to Bharata, a human being. And Bharata, with the help of his hundred sons, and some celestial dancers sent by Brahma, staged the first play. The gods enthusiastically contributed to the enhancement of the expressive possibilities of the new art," Kanrad points out.
The international message says further that" The play Bharata presented dealt with the history of the conflict between the gods and the demons, and celebrated the ultimate victory of the gods. The production delighted the gods and the humans. But the demons in the audience were deeply offended. They therefore used their supernatural powers and disrupted the performance by paralyzing the speech, movements and memory of the actors. The gods in turn attacked the demons and killed many of them.
Mayhem ensued. So Brahma, the Creator, approached the demons and spoke to them. Drama, he explained, is the representation of the state of the three worlds. It incorporates the ethical goals of life the spiritual, the secular and the sensuous--its joys and sorrows. There is no wisdom, no art, no emotion which is not found in it."
" Here is a revered text," Kanrad states amongst the other, " written to instruct us in the art and techniques of play-production, talking of the very first performance in the history of humanity. The Creator himself, along with other gods, celestial nymphs and trained actors, was involved in the project. The result should have been a thundering success. Instead, we are told it was a disaster."
According to Kanrad, the myth points to en essential characteristics of the theatre, which says that every performance - however carefully devised - bares inside the risk of failure and violence.
"The world has never before had as much drama as today. Radio, films, television and video inundate us with drama. But while these forms can engage or even enrage the audience, in none of them can the viewers response alter the artistic event itself. The Myth of the First Performance points out that in theatre, the playwright, the performers and the audience form a continuum, but one which will always be unstable and therefore potentially explosive."
"That is why theatre is signing its own death warrant when it tries to play too safe. On the other hand, that is also the reason why, although its future often seems bleak, theatre will continue to live and to provoke," says Kanrad at the end of his message.
The Macedonian message on the occasion of the World Theatre Day by the Macedonian play-writer, Sasko Nasev, reads: " Theatre are the People! The rest is to follow. It is the labour of Sisyphus and the joy of Falstaf. He does not know crises. The world is born within. The kind we like to see it. The world as a response to the urge that pulls us for our ankles, while we would like to jump, to overleap the trouble. To stop moaning in front of the blinded frescos and pagan Madonnas, to stop morning for the fires in the mosques."
We continue further, with a new theatre! Stronger! With no borders and global! Ours!, Nasev says. " Let the Generals, Falanges and the bombs be the illustration of this. Let them be in the plays only. We are talking about life here.
Let the thirsty have water, and the hungry be feed! What about us? We will perform for them! - A theatre for a coin, like Cernodrinski did a century ago!"
"Many children became orphans. It was a war. They grow and become lions. One of them is to become a director. Another one is already an actor, and the third one wanted to be a prompter. They want to give performances to teach the people on that how a man should be another man's brother, not a wolf! Friends! Fellow travelers through the magic of theatre and music, theatre rules! It is the people themselves! That it has always been and it will be! - A need and a passion, we should not search for reason and sense! It is greater than the death itself, greater than the goods. Simple as that, theatre has no one and nothing to stand against it. Its glory is eternal, its Holiday is holly, " adds Nasev at the end of the message from Macedonia on the occasion of the World Theatre Day.
The plays in all the theatres around the world will commence with the international message, and in some countries with their national message, an old tradition that is a part of our theatre life.
The following Macedonian theatre workers sent their messages so far: Kole Casule (1997), Ljubisa Georgievski (1998), Nada Gesovska (1999), Dejan Dukovski (20000) and Jordan Plevnes (2001).
100,000 Teachers to Protest Today.
100,000 teachers will leave the class rooms today, to take part in the nationwide remonstrance, organized by the Trade Union of the Bulgarian Teachers. Professors will set up round tables of discontent and will express their disagreement with the reform in education.
State Admittance for Magister Canceled.
The university fees for medics and law-students will exceed 4,000 levs.
The universities could cease the state admittance of students for Magister degrees, the addendum to the amendments in the Higher Education Act, which the Ministry of Education will submit to the parliament, reads. According to the adopted at first reading amendments in the law 20% from the admittance of magisters in the elite universities should obligatory be on a state ordinance. Yesterday the Ministry of Education decided to suspend this requirement. If the new draft is adopted, the universities will decide how many Magisters would be thought and the fees that they would have to pay. The fee for Magisters could reach 4,000 levs, experts say. This concerns most of all expensive disciplines like medicine and law.
MACEDONIAN INTERIOR MINISTER-VISIT-BULGARIA.
Sofia, March 27 (BTA) - A delegation of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Macedonia, led by Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, arrives on an official visit to Bulgaria Thursday, the press office of the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior said.
The purpose of the two-day visit is to continue the dialogue started at previous meetings. The two sides will discuss issues of mutual interest and will review the progress of cooperation since the visit of a Bulgarian delegation to Skopje on October 16-17, 2001, the press release says.
A protocol on cooperation between the border control bodies of the two ministries for 2002 is expected to be signed during the visit.
Parvanov Wasn't Given Classified Verbatim.
President Georgy Parvonov didn't get the verbatim of the government's sitting on October 25th past year at which the contract with the 'Crown Agents' was discussed until the end of yesterdays workday, sources from the press-office of the Presidency announced. Last week the head of the state said that he would like to get aquainted with the secret document, part of which was published in the media. PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has already heard the report of Chief Secretary of the CM Sevdalin Mavrov for the checkup of the verbatim, sources from the government said. But information about it wasn't made public, because the checkup hadn't finished yet, press-director of the government Tzvetelina Ouzunova specified.
President Purvanov to Attend SEECP Summit.
Sofia, March 27 (BTA) - President Georgi Purvanov leaves Thursday for Albania for the 5th Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit, the presidential press secretariat said.
Purvanov's itinerary includes meetings with Albanian President Rexhep Maidani, Romanian President Ion Iliescu, Croatian President Stipe Mesic and Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski.
SEECP includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Turkey and observer Croatia.
The initiative was launched at the meeting of foreign ministers of South East European countries held July 6-7, 1996 in Sofia.
Since 1997, meetings of the heads of state and of government of South East European countries - including the summits in Crete (Nov. 1997), in Antalya (Oct. 1998), in Bucharest (Feb. 2000) and in Skopje (Oct. 2000 and Feb. 2001), have been held within the SEECP framework on annual basis.
At the Antalya summit, then Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov negotiated with his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz the implementation of two infrastructure projects in this country: the Maritsa express way and the Upper Arda cascade. During his meeting with then Yugoslav prime minister, Kostov laid out Bulgaria's position on Kosovo; the Bulgarian proposals for solving the crisis there were integrated in the final document adopted by the forum.
An agreement on the establishment of a Balkan center for trade promotion was signed during the forum.
At the Bucharest summit, Bulgaria and Romania adopted a declaration concerning security, defence and cooperation.
The participants in the forum adopted a charter on good-neighbourly relations, stability, security and cooperation in South East Europe.
Then Bulgarian president Peter Stoyanov partook in the October 2000 summit in Skopje. He negotiated with Yugoslav counterpart Vojslav Kostunica the construction of the Sofia-Nis motor way which was the first step the two countries took in that direction.
During the forum, Stoyanov met with Macedonian counterpart Boris Trajkovski and Romanian counterpart Emil Constantinescu, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and with EU high representative on common foreign and security policy Javier Solana.
At the February 2001 summit in Skopje, Stability Pact Special Coordinator Bodo Hombach assured national coordinator Vladimir Filipov he is prepared to commit himself to the Sofia-Nis motor way project. President Stoyanov met with Hombach and with his Macedonian counterpart Trajkovski in the sidelines of the forum. Then Bulgarian foreign minister Nadezhda Mihailova attended the informal meeting of the foreign ministers of South East European countries held in the framework of the forum.
German MP Stoebgen: Bulgaria Will Be Invited to Join NATO This Fall.
Sofia, March 27 (BTA) - Bulgaria will be invited to join NATO at the Prague summit this fall, German MP Michael Stoebgen said in an interview for Info Radio. He chairs that Bulgaria-Germany friendship group in the Bundestag and is currently paying a visit here.
In his view, Bulgaria stands a very good chance of being invited to join NATO before the end of 2002. It is of crucial importance that this foreign policy priority enjoys the staunch support of both the government and the parliamentary opposition, he pointed out.
This does not mean the whole job has been completed.
Cooperation with European NATO members is just as important as the opinion of the US, especially in the runup to the Prague summit, Stoebgen said.
He described as realistic and feasible the intention of the Bulgarian government to complete accession talks with the EU by the end of 2003. However, both sides will have to make a bigger effort to achieve this, he said.
Sofiyanski To Accommodate NMS in Property of Boris III.
NMS MPs refuse to pay for overhaul of the abandoned building.
Sofia Mayor Stephan Sofiyanski had offered a former estate of King Boris III as a party headquarter of the National Movement for Simeon II (NMS) in the capital city. The property address is at the corner of 'Levski' and 'Dondoukov' Bvrds. The building is abandoned and needs a repair, NMS representatives, however, were choosy. The other option, proposed by Sofiyanski, was a neat house at the corner of 'Moskovska' and 'Paris' str. Yet, it happen to be too small to the King's men. Most likely, the NMS will accommodate in the Mass Privatization Center headquarters, slated for closing down, well-informed sources said. The building is at 'Aksakov' str., just behind 'Yalta' club. Yet, objections were raised also against it, since its exterior was not enough impressing. NMS should speed up the choice, because it should specify the new address for party's registration in court.
PM Was Denied a Signature by CITUB.
PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Social Minister Lidiya Shouleva signed an agreement with their social partners from the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Economic Chamber, the 'Podkrepa' trade-unions, etc. Leader of CITUB Zhelyazko Hristov came to the ceremony in the building of the CM accompanied by all his deputies, but didn't sign the document. To my regret I have no mandate to sign the document, but let's hope that this will happen, too, after we adopt a plan with concrete measures, he said.
NMS MPs Want Mayors to be Appointed.
The local authorities hinder the work of the government, they are the reason for the problems of the government, MP from NMS Klara Petkova said in Montana. She'll suggest amendments to the Government and Local Administration Act, which envisage mayors and municipal councilors to be appointed.
Petkanov Called to Presidency because of 'Al-Qaeda'
President Georgy Parvanov and Interior Minister Georgy Petkanov met tete-a-tete in the Presidency yesterday, 'Standart' learnt. The press-center confirmed the information about the visit of the chief of the IM, but refused any comment. According to well informed sources the two of them talked for more than an hour about the work of the secret services and the combat against terrorism. Petkanov has assured the President that there's nothing true in the information of the AP about a meeting of 'al-Qaeda' members, held in Sofia. Two days ago chief of the National Security Service (NSS) Gen. Ivan Chobanov said that the information is completely false.
Socialist Leaders Lobby for NPP in Germany.
Leader of BSP Sergey Stanishev and Coalition Policy Secretary Roumen Petkov asked for support for the Bulgarian nuclear energetics in Germany yesterday. During the meeting with top officials from the German Ministry of Economy both of them asked for cooperation in connection with the 'Kozloduy' NPP and the 'Belene' NPP and defence of the Bulgarian national interests. The socialist leaders visited the Berlin office of 'Siemens' yesterday. Leader of BSP Sergey Stanishev said that BSP is ready to rule but its task is to become even more prepared to govern.
Hr. Alexandrov Took Refuge From Interpol in Dragalevtsi.
The Military Prosecutor's Office is checking up why the police didn't find the ex-banker on retrieval.
Former president of Agribusinesses Bank - Hristo Alexandrov hadn't left Bulgaria within the last couple a years, while he was on nationwide retrieval, said the ex-banker during the 2-hour interrogation in the Military Prosecutor's Office in Plovdiv yesterday. Alexandrov surrendered voluntarily to the police. Currently, 3 court trials and 2 investigation cases against him are underway. He explained during the interrogation, he had lived in a villa near Dragalevtsi. On the request of the Interior Ministry he was wanted by Interpol with no success within the whole period.
Emmanuel Yordanov to Chair UDF's Doomsday.
An Eurointegration expert is the new voice of the 'blue' party
Former Interior Minister - Emmanuel Yordanov, took over the Control Council (CC) of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). This happened at the yesterday's sitting of the National Council of the 'blue' party. The CC is mostly known as the 'Doomsday', since due the regulations it administers the party's penalties to the organizations and leaders who have offended the rules. MP Nikolay Mladenov was elected as the party's spokesman at the proposal of UDF leader Nadezhda Mihailova. He is one of the UDF's foreign policy experts and representative of Bulgaria in the European Convent. NC members decided to set up a new post - deputy-chief secretary. Vassil Klyavkov - former deputy governor of UDF-Plovdiv, was elected to take the new office.
Customs Officers Back 'Crown' Contract.
Customs officers from 'Podkrepa' Labor Confederation yesterday declared their support to the consultants of 'Crown Agents'. 'The measures proposed by the British company will result in economic effect, incomparably higher than the amount, which Bulgaria will pay on this contract, reads their declaration to the Premier and the Finance Minister. To trade unionists, the attack against 'Crown' is triggered by shady economic groupings.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA-PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION.
MPs from Bosnia-Herzegovina Meet with Bulgarian Counterparts.
Sofia, March 27 (BTA) - The information that appeared in the media alleging a meeting of Al Qaeda took place in Sofia did not originate in any institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina, chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina parliament Zelko Mirjanic said. He heads a parliamentary delegation that arrived on a visit here on Sunday. The council of minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina will release official information on this issue, he added.
The visiting parliamentarians said on Monday they did not have any official data for an Al Qaeda meeting in Sofia, an event reported by the Associated Press, and dismissed these reports as speculations. On March 23, AP reported that Al Qaeda terrorists met in Sofia to plan attacks on embassies in Sarajevo, including against the US embassy, and on Americans in other European cities. The agency said they were quoting a high-ranking Bosnian state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
At his meeting the visiting parliamentarians, President Georgi Purvanov expressed regret and puzzlement over the way in which this information reached the media in Sarajevo and wished that if there are indeed any misunderstandings between the two countries they would be clarified between the state institutions.
On Wednesday, the visiting parliamentarians also met with Bulgarian MPs from the foreign policy, defence and security committee and from the Euro-integration committee to discuss the two committee's Euro-Atlantic integration-related work since Bosnia and Herzegovina has justed taken this road, Mirjanic said. It was agreed that the two parliaments' foreign policy committees should cooperate.
The visiting delegation was interested in the experience of the Euro-integration committee since such a committee is about to be established in the Bosnia-Herzegovina parliament.
The official visit of the delegation will end with a meeting with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
US Sheriffs Equipped with BG Pistols.
The Lyaskovets-based plant exports machine-guns to America.
US policemen carry Bulgarian arms, Deputy-Minister of Economy Milen Keremedchiev, said yesterday. Gas helmets, machine-guns, pistols and small arms are exported from 'Arsenal' - Kazanlak armories to the USA each week. Part of the orders are provided for the American army. The export of Bulgarian special production to the USA boosted twice as compared with 2000. Latin America states also have placed orders for BG special products. Bulgarian armories manufacture spare parts, munitions, shells and bafflers for China. The export of military production exceeds $200 million for the last six months only.
Tomorrow Is the 1 Anniversary of Vulo Radev's Death.
He shot films, competitive with world masterpieces in the genre, the critics say
A book by the director of the 'Peach Thief', 'Tobacco' and 'Doomed Souls' was published. The art guild gathered in the Military Club, to show respect to Vulo Radev and his book 'Lost Spaces'. The perfect styling of the edition includes an interview with Vulo Radev, recorded by Docho Bodzhakov, the directors' scenarios of the 'Peach Thief', 'King and General', 'Doomed Souls', records of the author from different periods, press reviews from editions in the Soviet Union, Italy, France, Venezuela, Poland, Denmark, the USA, Yugoslavia and splendid photos from the productions and behind the curtains pictures, posters and filmography.
BG Internationals Welcomed with Scandal in New York.
Major League game is envisaged on the same field before our match versus Ecuador.
Bulgaria's football internationals were met flagrantly in New York. They were denied to practice at Giant Stadium only 24 hours before the game versus Ecuador, for the torrential rains non stop pouring down since 4 days already. The game with the debutantes in World finals is this night. The match will be broadcast live on BNT (Bulgarian National TV), but from 4:30 AM, explicitly specified sources from the state-run media yesterday. 'We'll carry out the practice, but on another field. For the oozy terrain they don't allow to the Ecuador squad also to test the stadium,' elaborated Ivan Voutsov - CEO of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), who heads the delegation in the USA. Coach Plamen Markov expects to agree with his counterpart from Ecuador - Hernan Dario Gomes, to use all 16 players in the match. 'I don't believe that the Americans would have organized two matches in a row at Giant Stadium in this bad weather. Probably, they will move the Major League game to another field, or at different time. If they don't do that, however, we won't protest in anyway,. Yet, we are the guests,' Ivan Voutsov admitted.
Bulgarians Start to Everest Again.
The next group of alpinists is taking off to attack the highest peak in the World - Everest, under the aegis of 'Bulgarian Himalayas Expeditions' foundation. Famous Bulgarian alpinist Borislav Dimitrov and Vyacheslav Kripko from Moscow, are sponsors of the expedition. Four more Bulgarians are in the group - Gospodin Dinev, Zdravko Petrov, Svetlozar Shirkov and Atanas Katsarov, as well as alpinists from Serbia, Germany and Mexico. The expedition departs on April 6. The alpinists will attack the peak from the China- side within April 30 and May 20, when the meteorologists forecast the best weather.
UNDP Ranks Bulgaria 10th Among Potential Leaders.
Sofia, March 27 (BTA) - Bulgaria is ranked 10th among the 19 countries classified as potential leaders under the technology achievement index (TAI). Bulgaria is ahead of Poland, Croatia and Romania and is two placed behind Greece. Bulgaria's overall TAI rank is 28th among 38 countries.
This data is contained in UNDP's Human Development Report 2001 which encompasses 72 countries. Finland tops the TAI rankings, followed by the US, Sweden and Japan.
The report was presented to journalists by the Applied Research and Communications foundation during the 3rd regional forum on the development of information society that got underway here on Wednesday.
According to Global Initiative for Internet Policy executive director George Sadowsky, the e-signature law is not the only prerequisite for the development of e-commerce. In addition to the de rigueur macro-economic indicators determining the real stability of the economy, virtual trade also needs copyright legislation and legal liability for e-scoundrels, Sadowsky said.
Only 14.4% of Bulgarians have access to computers which is the biggest impediment to the development of information society in Bulgaria, a survey of the foundation found.
By late 2002, Internet users in Bulgaria had tripled in comparison with a study conducted two years ago. According to the Vitosha Research polling agency, 12.2% of Bulgarians of legal age surf the net; some 50% of all Internet users are aged 18-30 and 1/4 are aged 31-40; pensioners are not using the Internet, the survey found.
The number of PCs in schools doubled in 2001 to 5,643; the universities have at their disposal 20,000 PCs and most of them are Internet-enabled. IT majors account for 3% of all Bulgarian students.
Some 30% of domestic companies use computer technology in their everyday work but only 7.3% of all work stations have a PC; most often, the computers are used to process documents and to run legal and accounting software programs; only 12% of the PCs are connected to the Internet; few of the employees use Internet in their work, most often they resort to the web to send and read emails.
Over 90% of state institutions have websites but most of those are rarely updated. The state administration is better equipped with PCs than the private sector but there are not used efficiently.
We Make Boutique Beer 'Rousalka'
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Nikolay Binev
Next year we will enter the Western stock exchanges, maintains Nikolay Binev - president of Financial&Industrial concern - AKB Fores.
- What does your plant 'Beroe' produce now? The rumors are, that it's making beer as well?
- We've already set up a high-tech unit to manufacture tool equipment. Currently, we have orders by 'Krup'. We will resume those by 'Peugeot'. We will try to get back on the Russian market. We held negotiations with Gasprom.
The beer suffices only our needs. Let's say it's a boutique beer - 'Rousalka', which we will offer in our resort complex to the tourists.
- You negotiate also with a Swiss company on joint production with 'Beroe'.
- Yes, I was in the Switzerland last week. But we negotiated with Swiss, Germans, Italians. And now we talk to a group of companies from Russia. We are most highly interested in Gasprom. We are ready to set up a joint venture and to share 50 percent of the capital with them, since that's a real world company, which can help us with its markets. Gasprom has a large-scale infrastructure, which non stop needs to be sustained.
- What's forthcoming to AKB?
- From several years our great target is to go out on the international stock exchanges. So we think to do it as early as next year. The negotiations with the Chicago stock exchange are making progress. There we have engaged a consultant company, jurists, who work from long ago with us.
- The large-scale privatization in Bulgaria is pending. Will AKB participate in it?
- We are interested in several Hydro-Power Plants thus to complete the circuit.
Arab Regimes Will Try to Devastate Israel.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Avigdor Liebermann
During the past ten years the conflict with the Palestinians forced all Israeli governments to resign before they had completed their mandates. It threatens the cabinet of Ariel Sharon too. The first one to leave his government was Avigdor Liebermann, minister of the national infrastructure, leader of the biggest 'Russian' party 'Our Home Israel'. He sees the reasons for the ME crisis in the growing necessity of global geopolitical changes.
- You left the government of Sharon in protest against the concessions to the Palestinians. But Sharon agreed to hold negotiations under fire to the pressure of the USA. America wants to calm down the region and Islamic peace in general on the eve of the strike on Iraq. Can Israel ignore this?
- The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is neither the major problem of the region, nor the major problem of the Islamic peace. It is the lightning conductor of the only real problem - the totalitarian regimes of the Islamic countries.
We shall analyze the situation in the Islamic belt from Morocco to Iran. It is of strategic significance for all the world - in terms of energy resources and geo-political situation. And this is a belt of instability: a permanent struggle is going on in it for the 'redistribution of ownership' and 90% of all the wars and all the victims of the military activities in that belt are not at all connected with Israel. The war between Iraq and Iran took away a million lives from each side. The war between South and North Yemen. Egypt's war on the Sudan and Libya. The civil wars in Lebanon, in Morocco, in Algeria. And finally Iraq's war on Kuwait. Why do these wars break out? Immediately after the strategic balance of forces is changed, immediately after one of the sides decides that the other one has grown weak enough, there immediately follows a war. No agreements are valid any longer. And this is the major characteristic of all totalitarian regimes. This held good not only of the violated agremeents between Iraq and Iran, North and South Yemen, Iraq and Kuwait. This is what happened with the peace agreement between North and South Vietnam for which Kissinger received the Nobel peace prize.
After North Vietnam decided it could be able to swallow the South, it did it immediately. And the American 'co-sponsor of the peace process' didn't move a finger to save Saigon. Hence the conclusion - having to do with totalitarian criminal regimes, one shouldn't rely on any international guarantees and agreements. You can rely only on your own deterrence. In our case - immediately after the Arabs have felt that the military-strategic balance in the region has changed, they are no late to try to eliminate Israel. Till then they will try to weaken it by a combination of terrorism and diplomacy.
- They will try to eliminate Israel even if they know that it would be mutual elimination?
- To prevent their population - poor, oppressed, illiterate from directing their rage against the tyrants who roll in money and periodically throw their peoples in the horrors of war, with the aid of Islamic propaganda those regimes lead the people's anger against the mythical external enemy - Israel. We, who grew in the USSR, are well aware of that mechanism. But Islamism, supported by those regimes grows into a threat for them too - and to win Islamists over, those regimes are forced to keep attacking Israel more and more. It is a vicious circle the outcome of which is one - the liberation of the Islamic societies from their tyrants, a general democratization.
- You believe that democratization will rid them of their solidarity with the 'Palestinians' rights to self-determination'?
- By 1967 all the territories of Judaea and Samaria were under Arab sovereignty - under Jordan. Then no one of the 'Palestinian' leaders ever thought of founding a 'Palestinian state'. Even now Arafat isn't interested in its foundation. Why should he become the head of a poor, semi-feudal state with the gravest problems - to start establishing political and economic infrastructures, health care system, education, labour organization, disarmament of thousands of young bandits who can only plunder for their living? In his capacity of head of such a state he won't be interesting to anyone in the world. In this capacity of his he will never happen to visit the White House, or N 10 Downing Street. He won't be shown on the screens of the CNN or BBC, either. Something more - his own people will then see that he can't organize the life of his people and can only organize terrorist attacks. Arafat would like to be regarded as the new Saladdin or Che Gevara. He wants to be remembered for good as 'a hero', leader of the Palestinian revolution. He can't and doesn't want to take to routine state building. Arafat developed as a terrorist and will be such for good.
Recently I met with a KGB analyst. He told me that as early as the 1980-ies the KGB arrived at the conclusion: there wasn't any possibility to found a vital Palestinian state - there do not exist the key factors: constructive forces with statesmanlike legal culture, budget resources, jobs and territories. If despite everything a Palestinian state is established, it won't be able to protect itself. Their major means of providing for their living is - threats, blackmail, terror and borrowing money to protect their stability. That is a political blackmail. In order to get all the time money from the West, from Israel and the Arab countries, the Palestinian state will prove all the time its capability of destabilizing the situation and receive, by means of terror, fresh funding which will be plundered by the ruling elite.
- In practical terms Israel is a more Christian country than all its Western Christian critics. There isn't any other country in a similar situation where terrorist acts are launched every day, to pay such attention to the civil rights of the enemy. And despite that, why does the West supports the Palestinians almost all the time?
- In the first place because they are weaker, in military terms. But the weak isn't always automatically right. Many barbaric regimes were weaker than the democracies which defeated them. Secondly, the national task of the Palestinians is easy to explain, according to it it's easy to have the people rallied, to uphold it. This right to self-determination, Israel's retreat to the 1967 borders, the Palestinians' capital in Jerusalem and the right to repatriation of 3,5 million so called refugees: at that a return not to the Palestinian state, but to Israel: to them - a state, and to us - their refugees. That is, their genuine goal is clear: the elimination of Israel rather, than the foundation of a Palestinian state. No matter the ways that goal has been disguised (national-liberation struggle), the deeds of the Palestinian leaders take off this disguise. This is what Arafat did at the latest summit in Camp David. Israel was ready to meet all demands of the Palestinians: to give them a state, the 1967 borders, division of Jerusalem. But in return, on my demand - once Barak was ready to give everything, Israel set forth a single provision - signing the agreement for the ultimate ending of the conflict. And Arafat explicitly rejected this and began a war. If Israel wasn't ready for self-eliminatation, by accepting 3,5 million refugees, Arafat decided to go ahead with the struggle for achieving his final objective: the liquidation of Israel.
- Why, despite all these clear facts did Israel gamble away the information war?
- If Israel is unanimous, the world will hear the truth: to the Palestinians the Israeli army is not occupation but liberating. But Simon Peres took the stand of the PLO. That is, the key figure in the Israeli government upholds absolutely crazy stands! There was a visit by Mironov, then - of Cheney. Both of them gave up meeting Arafat. But Peres pressurized them to meet him! Israel must oppose two major facts to the Palestinian propaganda. The first one - the attacks on Israel in the Arab and Western mass information media, this direct continuation of the traditional anti-semitism, which, following the Holocost, they began to hypocritically call anti-zionism or (anti-Israeli position). The proof: the attacks against Israel in the MIM of the Western countries coincide with the growing attacks in those countries on the Jews who live there. Similar situation exists, for instance, in France, in Austria and even in England. The second fact - Israel is a front post in the struggle of the civilized world against the new threat: terrorism. Israel has been staying on this front line for many years now. And not only in the struggle against Islamic terror, but along with the international anti-terrorist alliance. The partners of the PLO in the terrorist acts during the past years were also IRA, and the Japanese 'Red Army', and 'The Red Brigades' in Italy and the German left-wing terrorists. Arafat and his gang tried the cruel methods of international terrorism precisely on Israel: seizure and execution of refugees, hijacking of planes, explosions in buildings and buses full of peaceful civilians. Israel must explain to the world: present day terror - this is a genuine evil: in its essence it is irrational. Sending kamikaze planes against the scyscrapers Bin Laden did not put forth any demands. The aim is one - just impelementation of his ideological dogma - elimination of the infidels.
When the Palestinian parents rejoice that their children became kamikaze-terrorists and took with them to the grave tens of innocent lives, when those parents declare that their other children should do the same, the world must understand: it comes to a fanatic ideology which poses a threat to all the mankind. To that ideology we should add the unlimited financial resources of the oil-producing regimes and the development by them of mass destruction weapons - and the scale of this threat will become clear. By September 11 Israel's was a voice in the wilderness. Now America seems to have awakened a bit to the realities. Europe keeps sleeping its sound sleep.
- Russia also supported that voice: at the start of the Chechnya events.
- Yes, because Russia became aware that it came to a single alliance of international terror. In Chechnya one of the major bandits is Arab Hattab. In Afghanistan there are Chechens among the soldiers of Al Qaeda. Islamic terror has been expanding its base in the Balkans, in Europe, the USA, Southern America, in Middle Asia, in the Caucuses. But instead of establishing a united anti-terrorist alliance the West has been trying to flirt with regimes which support the terrorists, to netotiate with them because of its advantage for the moment, calling it a 'constructive dialogue'.
- Your alternative to the foundation of the Palestinian state is division of the territories in self-ruling cantons. But to the islamic world it will look like a different form of occupation. Could your plan be accepted, though theoretically?
- In the Arab world the supporters of the canton plan are Jordan and Egypt. The foundation of the Palestinian state on the West bank of the Jordan river means the end of Jordan as an independent Hashemite kingdom. Once Israel already saved Jordan, when in the 1970 -ies Palestinians headed by Arafat wanted to oust King Hussein. Currently, the Palestinians constitute the majority of Jordan's population. They control Parliament, business, the trade unions. Only the army and the power structures were left to the Hashemite dynasty. Since the Palestinians don't have their state, the Palestinians in Jordan can't avail of their power to topple Abdalla. But because their state will prove to be only on the West bank of the Jordan river, it will become their mainstay for the creation of 'Great Palestine' on both banks of the Jordan.
Palestinian students and islamist- students are one of the major destabilizing factors in Egypt. To them the foundation of the Palestinian state would be a powerful stimulus for toppling the present regime and the coming to power of extremists. For this reason a Palestinian autonomy based on the principle of cantons and jointly carried out by Israel and Jordan would suit Jordan and Egypt the best. Almost 80% of the Palestinians on the West bank have Jordanian citizenship as they are. The division of that territory into five natural, historically formed enclaves - four Moslem and a Christian enclave of Bethlehem - Israel would take to the security of that territory, while Jordan - their social insurance, education, etc. This is the only outcome for Jordan. Jordanians are well aware of things - unlike the Israeli government.
- If Israel starts implementing the canton plan and occupies territories, there exists the threat of their speedy Chechenization: guerilla war.
- Chechenization already exists: The Palestinian territories - this is the new, after Afghanistan, hotbed of international terrorirsm. To liberate the Palestinians from the terriorist regime which suppresses them, in the first place it is necessary to place the flow of funding for the PLO under stringent control. The lion's share of this 'humanitarian aid' is spent on developing the terrorist structures. The basic injections come from Saudi Arabia. It is precisely Saudi Arabia that is the main financial source of the terrorists: from Afghanistan to Chechnya. In order that Saudi Arabia suspend that aid, it should lose the sales market. Needed for this purpose are the joint efforts of the USA and Russia. Russian oil can replace the Saudi Arabian oil. The production of oil can be also increased in Europe and in Central America. In the second place, it is necessary to strictly control their system of education and propaganda. And in the third place, it is necessary to support the constructive forces in the Islamic world. Growing within Islam is an anti-wahab front. Already many Islamic clericals in a number of countries understand that the wahab terrorist islam poses a threat to the Moslem peoples themselves. The civilized world must rely on the voices of those clericals. More particularly, I suggest that we start with the holding of an anti-wahab conference. And it should be convened in Moscow.
- Why in Moscow? Why not in Jerusalem or Washington?
- The Islamic leaders from all over the world are not ready yet to meet in Israel's capital. To Russia the spread of radical Islamism is even a bigger threat than to the USA.Besides, on the territory of the post-Soviet space there exist the most positive tendencies in the Islamic world and Russia actively supports them. In the West they try to flirt with the extremist Islam, leaving without support the positive factors of the Islamic world. The West is trying to keep silence about the Islamic vandalism. The barbaric executions of the shariat courts, the demolition of the Budha statues in Afghanistan, the fatwa against Salman Rushdi, the official support for the taliban by Saudi Arabia - all that is forgotten rather quickly by the West. Russia's is the correct, sound approach to this problem.
The interview was given to Dmitrii Radyishevskii