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MACEDONIAN MINISTER OF CULTURE VISITED VISBADEN.
Macedonian Minister of Culture Ganka Samoilovska - Cvetanova held Saturday press conference on the future of the film production in Eastern Europe during her visit to the film festival "Go East" in Visbaden.
Samoilovska-Cvetanova also delivered a speech on "Today's Film Production."
Macedonian Minister attended Friday night the projection of Macedonian movie "Joy of Life," directed by Svetozar Ristevski, which was screened in the festival's official competition.
Spokesman of Culture Ministry Oliver Sambevski said for MIA that according to the German press, the film was interesting for the festival's public.
The visit of the Culture Minister is in the frameworks of the activities initiated by the Macedonian Government that holds the presidency over the Pan - European intergovernmental organization of audio - visual arts.
On Thursday, Samoilovska-Cvetanova met Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer in Strasbourg.
At the meeting, Minister Samoilovska-Cvetanova signed the European convention for co-production in cinematography, thus fulfilling the conditions for entrance of the Republic of Macedonia in the European fund for support of co-productions for distribution-Euroimage.
The Macedonian Culture Minister informed Schwimmer about the upcoming Southeast Europe Ministers' Conference for the audiovisual sector, which should be held in Skopje at the beginning of September 2002.
Street Performances Raise Awareness of Handicapped Persons' Problems.
Skopje, April 13 (MIA) - Citizens' Association "Polio Plus" organized Saturday on City's Square "Macedonia" in Skopje the third street performance "Architectural Stumbling Stone" focused on the problems of handicapped persons.
By symbolically breaking the stairs of Stone Bridge, the play aimed to show that the handicapped persons have no access on the bridges in the city.
With the campaign, "Polio Plus" organization wants to raise the awareness that the handicapped persons have the same rights and options as the other people.
Ohrid, April 13 (BTA exclusive by Kostadin Filipov) - A two-day international conference, "The 21st Century Woman: Women's Role in the Development of Democracy in Southeastern Europe", opened Saturday in Ohrid. Participating in the forum are the wives of state and government leaders of Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria is represented by President Georgi Purvanov's wife Zorka Purvanova.
This is the second such meeting which is attended by over 200 women from nine countries. The first one took place in Bulgaria in 1998 under the patronage of former president Peter Stoyanov's wife, Antonina Stoyanova.
In her address to the participants in the conference Purvanova recalled that Sofia was the venue of the first such event and pointed out that these meetings conform to the spirit of cooperation in Southeastern Europe and the Stability Pact.
In Purvanova's view, women in the region should join their effort in the fight for their rights and should play a more effective role in the process of building civil society and taking political decisions. "Our conference is yet another serious step towards building a regional network of women at key positions in politics, business, science, culture and education," Purvanova noted.
Working groups will be set up within the forum featuring prominent women leaders from Southeastern Europe, as well as representatives of numerous NGOs. A group of Bulgarian MPs led by National Assembly Deputy Chair Kamelia Kassidova, as well as ten Bulgarian NGOs, have bene invited.
In her opening address Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski's wife Vilma Trajkovska, under whose patronage the conference is staged, recalled Stoyanova's contribution in organizing the first such event. Trajkovska said it is particularly important that women's role in the process of taking decisions grow.
POPE JOHN PAUL II-"THE TIMES"-BULGARIA-COMMENTARY.
Foreign Minister Describes as "Unworthy" Insinuations of Bulgarian Involvement in Attempt at Pope's Life.
Sofia, April 13 (BTA) - "I think all insinuations that Bulgaria was involved in the attempt at Pope John Paul II's life are extremely unworthy," Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said in an interview for Darik radio Saturday.
Passy was asked to comment a report in "The Times" that former interior minister Atanas Semerdjiev and former police archive chief Nanka Serkedjieva were convicted of destroying former State Security files.
According to the daily's reporter, the destroyed files used to contain information on the attempt at the life of Pope John Paul II. "The Bulgarian secret service is believed to have supported the Turkish right-wing activist Mehmet Ali Agca in his unsuccessful assassination attempt," writes the paper.
According to Foreign Minister Passy, the Pope's forthcoming visit to Bulgaria in May is the best answer to all attacks implying that Bulgaria was involved in his failed assassination.
Serb War Crimes Suspect Dies After Shooting Himself.
By Will Hardie
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Veteran Serbian politician and war crimes indictee Vlajko Stojiljkovic, who shot himself in the head outside the Yugoslav parliament on Thursday, died in hospital on Saturday evening, a doctor said.
"Despite intense reanimation measures, death occurred on April 13, 2002 at (3:30 p.m. EDT)," Branko Djuric, head of Neurology at Belgrade Emergency Center, said on Studio B television news.
Stojiljkovic put a bullet through his head just hours after parliament passed a law under heavy U.S. financial pressure to send him and other war crimes suspects to the U.N. Hague Tribunal. He had since remained deeply unconscious and in a critical condition.
Djuric said doctors had succeeded in restarting Stojiljkovic's heart but could not get him to breathe without a life support machine. The bullet caused massive and irreparable damage to his skull and brain.
The burly white-haired former minister had been considered a prime candidate for an early handover to the court, where ousted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on trial.
Stojiljkovic's dramatic suicide underscored how divisive and politically explosive the war crimes issue has become. In a note he blamed Yugoslavia's reformist leaders for his act, which provoked small but vocal protests of solidarity from nationalist sympathizers.
Analysts have said the deed seriously raised the stakes for bringing more fugitives to trial alive.
WAR CRIMINAL OR PATRIOT?
As interior minister, Stojiljkovic had responsibility for Milosevic's feared police force which has been widely accused of war crimes in Kosovo. More than 4,000 bodies have been recovered from mass graves in the province since the end of the war.
Many Serbs, however, see the campaign by their forces in Kosovo as an anti-terrorist operation to quell a guerrilla uprising. Stojiljkovic said in a 15-page handwritten suicide note that he was proud of his work at the interior ministry.
"I want to join the ranks of heroes -- my policemen, members of the army and people who, showing patriotism, unprecedented heroism, readiness and decisiveness, gave their lives defending their country and their people from criminals," he wrote.
The law passed by parliament on Thursday, after more than a year of arguments among reformers and their allies, authorizes the handover of suspects already indicted by the tribunal.
Yugoslavia's dominant republic Serbia has already handed over several suspects, including Milosevic. But it had balked at acting again without a law, fearing the political fallout.
The authorities' failure to surrender more suspects before a March 31 deadline set by the U.S. Congress triggered a freeze in U.S. financial aid and support in international lending bodies.
The U.N.-run International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia is seeking a total of 33 fugitives, the vast majority of them believed to be in Yugoslavia or Bosnia's Serb Republic.
The most wanted are Bosnian Serb wartime leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both charged with genocide.
But Stojiljkovic, former Yugoslav deputy premier Nikola Sainovic and ex-army chief of staff Dragoljub Ojdanic were widely seen as the most likely candidates for early handovers.
Indicted with Milosevic and current Serbian President Milan Milutinovic during the NATO bombing, they face charges of crimes against humanity and violations of the law and customs of war.
Ex-Soviet Georgia holds its largest military exercises in Black Sea port.
MOSCOW - The impoverished military of former Soviet Georgia, gearing up for the arrival of U.S. troops who will train Georgians to fight terrorists, has wrapped up its largest-ever exercises in a Black Sea port.
About 3,000 servicemen from the army, air force and navy took part in the maneuvers in Poti, which included 12 ships donated from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Ukraine to replace Soviet-era ships that Russia withdrew from the port after the 1991 collapse of the USSR.
The 17,000-member Georgian military has also received aid from the United States, in the form of helicopters and support for the border guard force.
Boosting that cooperation to a new level, the United States announced in February that it would send military instructors to help train Georgian troops to fight terrorists as part of the international anti-terror campaign. U.S. officials have said terrorists may be hiding in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge on the border with breakaway Chechnya. No date for the U.S. troops' arrival has been announced.
The last day of the military exercises Friday was almost derailed by a standoff between Georgian troops and Russian peacekeepers in a gorge in the breakaway Abkhazia region. The Russian peacekeepers began withdrawing Saturday from the Kodori Gorge, but tensions remained high between Russia and Georgia over the decade-old Abkhazia conflict.
Georgia has conducted large-scale military exercises under NATO auspices in recent years, but last week's exercises were the largest the country had held on its own.