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President Georgi Purvanov convoked a meeting of the National Security Consultative Council. The agenda of today's session is dominated by counter-crime combat. BTA photo by Tihomir Penov
European Union Commissioner for External relations Chris Patten, left, gestures while speaking with Macedonia's Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski during a co-operation council meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Luxembourg, Tuesday, April 16, 2002. EU foreign ministers met for a second day of meetings on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
SITUATION IN CRISIS REGIONS.
The patrols of the multiethnic police teams are carried without any difficulties in all residential areas in the crisis regions, according to the scheduled dynamics.
According to the Media Activity Center within the governmental Coordinate Crisis Management Body the police did not enter Vejce village in Tetovo due to the conditions imposed by the local Albanian residents.
"The security situation in Kumanovo-Lipkovo region is improving," was the conclusion of the regular meeting among the representatives from the Macedonian police and army, the crisis management, international representatives and Lipkovo's local authorities.
They reviewed the current situation in the region and pointed out that the regular activities on de-mining in Matejce village and the reconstruction of the damaged houses should be accelerated so that displaced persons could return to their homes. It was also underlined that the workers from Water Supply Enterprise should establish control over Lipkovo's accumulations and the employees from Public Forestry Enterprise to establish control over the forests in Matejce area in order to prevent the illegal cutting of the woods.
The local residents reiterated their request for dislocation of the army checkpoints from some Lipkovo villages, located near the farming land as allegedly they could not access their fields."
Monday night around 23h, Dusko Simonovski, a police reservist from the town of Tetovo that was kidnapped on Sunday in the village of Semsovo, was found and handed over to the Interior Department of Tetovo, with the assistance of the OSCE mission, MIA's correspondent reported.
According to the report of the Interior Department - Tetovo, Simonovski was in a very critical condition, for he was tortured and physically abused. He was examined and medically treated.
In regard to this latest case of kidnapping in Tetovo, the authorities in charge continuously work to fully clear up the case.
It is calm Tuesday morning in Kumanovo-Lipkovo region, no armed provocations were evidenced.
Except for three sporadic shots that were fired Monday afternoon, there were no other violations of the public order and peace.
Police Reservist Is Set Free After 24-Hour Of Severe Beating.
Skopje (april 16)-A police reservist from Tetovo, who was captured by two unknown persons on Semsevo-Siricino road, had been reportedly released, says the press release by the Crisis Management Center.
The policeman was kidnapped by two persons while returning to his home.
The assailants put a bag over his head and took him to a stable near the village of Semsevo. The kidnappers held the policeman for 24 hours. He was severely beaten. The assailants urged the captured policeman to disclose classified data.
No details have been released so far on whether the kidnappers had handed over the policeman to OSCE representatives.
The OSCE representatives transferred the policeman to nearest police station, then he war treated in Tetovo hospital for trauma and severe bruising.
The Police is searching after perpetrators. The local media have already disclosed the name of kidnapped policeman, Dusko Simovski.
PM GEORGIEVSKI VISITS LUXEMBOURG.
A Macedonian delegation, led by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, is in an official visit to Luxembourg, where the regular political dialogue between Macedonia and the European Union Troika takes place, chaired by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Pique, as Spain is the current holder of the EU Presidency.
Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Slobodan Casule is also member of the delegation.
The meting is focused on the economic and political developments in Macedonia and the country's progress in its process for integration into EU.
The officials also discuss developments in the region.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski will depart Tuesday from Luxembourg to Athens, Greece to participate in the conference "Strategy for the International recovery and the Regional Cooperation", organized by the "Economist" magazine.
Georgievski will address the conference on Thursday, speaking about the recent developments in Macedonia and the Balkans.
At the conference sidelines, Georgievski will meet with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu.
During his stay in Athens, Georgievski is to meet with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis, Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Costas Skandalidis and Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.
At the meetings, Georgievski is expected to request from Greece to undertake initiatives within NATO and the European Union, which could contribute to the development and stability of the Balkans, Greek media reported.
Georgievski is also expected to ask for acceleration of the process for implementation of the Greek plan for reconstruction of Southeastern Europe, worth Euro 550 million. The plan foresees 95 million for projects in Macedonia.
MINISTER POPOVSKI MET BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY HOON.
British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon met Tuesday with Macedonian Defense Minister Vlado Popovski and after the meeting the interlocutors assessed the relations between the two countries as "exceptionally constructive and productive".
Minister Popovski informed Hoon on the security situation in Macedonia and on the border crossings, the reforms in the defense sector, especially in the Army, as well as the strategy and the tactic of the defense policy.
During the meeting they jointly stated that it is very important for Macedonia to regulate the political processes including the normalization of the life and the forthcoming parliamentary elections, which according to Popovski "are key issues for further stabilization of Republic of Macedonia."
The Macedonian part was concerned with the current risks to the security.
"We emphasized that there are numerous members of Kosovo Protection Corpus that cross the Macedonian border and insist on continuing the war," Popovski said, adding that the Macedonian citizens do not accept this idea.
According to him, "that is a solid basis for the state policy and the policy of the political parties and other entities in the country to act in order to overcome the risks of further crisis."
"The United Kingdom as approved friend of Macedonia and the Defense Ministry is excellent partner for cooperation in the security and defense," Popovski emphasized.
The mission of British Generals Short and Baxter was stressed during the meeting, as according to Popovski "they gave invaluable support to the reform of the armed forces, getting closer to NATO and accomplishing interoperability within that process."
British Defense Secretary Hoon expressed his satisfaction from the progress that Macedonia has made in "restructuring the armed forces and implementation of the issues raised once the last year's crisis was completed."
To a question whether the United Kingdom was ready to take over the command of NATO's mission "Amber Fox," if Netherlands does not take over, Hoon said that his country would continue to grant support to Macedonia in that respect.
Regarding the eventual replacement of NATO troops in Macedonia with the European Rapid Reaction Forces, Hoon said that decision was not made yet.
"We are actively involved in NATO's forces and we are very satisfied from their role in Macedonia. We will continue to participate until Macedonia wants NATO's presence in the country," he said.
Hoon donated four forklift trucks in Skopje military barracks "Ilinden," and opened the Foreign Language Center with two equipped classrooms. This is final part of UK's donation to Macedonia, which came as a result of the good bilateral cooperation.
WORKSHOP "HIGHER LEVEL OF TRAINING FOR COMBATING ORGANIZED CRIME" CONTINUES.
The first workshop within Tempus - CARDS project of "Higher level of training for combating organized crime" continued Tuesday in Skopje with the speeches of PhD Metodija Angeleski and PhD Ratko Kardelev from the Faculty of Security.
Speaking of "Global Criminal Methods for Combating the Organized Crime," Angeleski emphasized the social danger of the organized crime, the basic theories for specialized combat against organized crime and some aspects from the struggle against narcotics.
Kardelev spoke of the world-leading package for visual conducting and analyzing the investigation, which offers array of visual forms in his speech "Some Elements of Information Support in the Struggle against Organized Crime."
The workshop continues Wednesday, when other professors from the Faculty of Security will have their addresses.
The first five - day workshop started Monday, and the aim of this project that includes 76 representatives from Macedonia is to develop a national strategy for combating all kinds of crime, as well as for more synchronized communication among the institutions.
Representatives from Interior Ministry, Ministry of Justice, Finance Ministry, and also representatives from the National Bank of Macedonia, Public Revenue Bureau, Customs Administration and many others attend the first workshop. Only representatives of the Interior Ministry will attend the second workshop, while in the frameworks of the third workshop, representatives of the Customs Administration and the cross - border police are to participate in its work. The two workshops will take place in May 2002.
Kosovars Want New Border With Macedonia.
by Irina Gelevska
Vitina-About 600 men, women and children demonstrated today for two hours in the center of the Kosovo town Vitina, 12 Km away from the border with Macedonia. They demanded from the local UNMIK administrator to change the border crossings between Macedonia and Kosovo, by taking some 2,500 KM inside the Macedonian territory as the recent request by the newly elected Kosovo Government, which was condemned by the International Community.
The UNMIK Spokesperson said today that the protests were peaceful and that there will be another gathering soon in the border village Debalde opposite of the village Tanushevci, where the conflicts started last year.
The KFOR officials from the Multinational Brigade East say that they have monitored the border during the protest and that they will not allow illegal crossing of the border by the Kosovars.
The Border Brigade of the Macedonian Army have also noticed the protest and warns that in Debalde and Tanushevci there are unexploded mines left from the conflict.
"THE FUTURE OF MRTV AS NATIONAL PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE" ROUNDTABLE.
In organization of the Macedonian broadcasting Council, a roundtable on topic "the future of the Macedonian Radio Television as national public broadcasting service" took place in Skopje on Tuesday, focusing on the possible solutions for program, production, economic, technical and technological restructuring of the Macedonian Radio Television.
"The need from transformation of the MRTV, despite the current adverse situation, comes also from the obligations that Macedonia has with the Association and Stabilization Agreement with the EU for harmonization of our legislation according to the EU standards," President of the Macedonian Broadcasting Council Ljubomir Jakimovski said. He added that the changes to the law for broadcasting, for MRTV and for the Macedonian broadcasting would be chosen according to the model for transformation of the MRTV.
Macedonian Assembly Chairman Stojan Andov said in his address that on its path to the Euro-Atlantic integration, Macedonia was under constant monitoring, adding that the country was aware that there were many political, security and economic aspects that must function in the same manner or approximately similar as in the EU member countries.
"One of the fields of the social life for which we were lately criticized is the field of informing the public in all of its segments. The existence of one TV station, radio or newspaper is no longer the problem. Now we are facing a paradox, where the quantity does not result in quality, but on the contrary, it seems as if there are no independent media and independent journalism, i.e. that all media are positioned toward a certain party," Andov said.
The estimations from the impartial monitors are more frequently negative for the so-called regime media, he said, as well as for every other "independent and free media", adding that the mentioning of the media and journalistic corruption is more and more being mentioned.
He believes that the Resolution for the future of the public broadcasting service adopted by the ministers of the member countries - participants at the Fourth European ministers' conference for the mas-media policy and the Recommendation of the Council of Europe Ministers' Committee for guaranteed independence of the public broadcasting service include remarkable and specific solutions for the necessary regulations in this field.
Andov appealed for strict observing of the recommendations from these documents, in order adequate national regulations to be developed.
Ljupco Jakimovski, Director of the Macedonian Radio Television, said that he agreed with the commitments, visions and ideas included in these European documents.
He believes that the current scope of the MRTV program was over-dimensioned and that it needs to be reduced on two channels for the radio and for the TV, of which one would operate in Macedonian and the other one in the languages of the minorities. In his opinion, the other parts from the current program would suffer transformation and cancellation.
Speaking about the unfavorable financial situation in this public service, mainly due to the financing which comes from the tax for radio and TV, Jakimovski said that solution for this problem may be if the percent from the tax for the MTV is increased, and in situation of crisis when the normal functioning of the public broadcaster is threatened finances to be provided from the budget.
Jakimovski announced that from the total revenues of 16 million that the MRTV realized in 2001, the radio and TV tax participated with 53%, while the revenues from marketing services were 20,3%. "And while the revenues from marketing in the past three years are constantly on a level of about 20%, the revenues from the radio and TV tax permanently decrease. Of about 10 million in 1999, the revenues from this tax dropped down to 8 million," he said.
Last year 56% of the funds planned to come from the radio and TV tax were collected. The MRTV receives 61% of these funds. "It is more then clear that this low percentage directly influences on the MRTV work," Jakimovski said.
The MRTV general manager said that one of the most problematic areas in the MRTV work was the old technology and equipment, whereat the percentage of amortization varies between 95 and 200%.
In the last year, with the total of 1,650 employees, the Macedonian radio broadcasted total of 32,977 hours of program, and the Macedonian television - 32,297 hours together with the satellite channel.
Werber Rumforst, director of the legal department of the European Broadcasting Association, said that the main issue on which the country has to decide is whether it wants to have state, parliamentary, governmental or truly independent broadcasting service, adding that the state should also decide on the role of this service in the society.
"In order to fulfill its role, the public broadcasting service should have larger and significant audience," Mr. Rumforst said.
Military Pilots - National Treasure.
Reality Macedonia - Dnevnik
Macedonian Air Force pilots in front of Mi-24 gunship helicopter.
By Igor Bozhinovski
Translated by Zlatko Arsenievski
The recent strike of the Air-Force and Air-technician personnel of the Macedonian Air Force raised the awareness of Macedonian public to everyday problems facing the members of the most expensive and the most sophisticated branch of the Macedonian Army. One particular piece information raises grave concerns: recently, four experienced pilots of Macedonian Air Force resigned because of dissatisfaction with the status of their profession. Unfortunately, the neglectful media undermined this important news. In an effort to redeem that, I would like warn of the security and the economic consequences that our country will encounter, if there is no urgent action of building an adequate system of valuating the military pilots, and with goal to finally stop the process of continuous fleeing of the Macedonian military pilots.
This process of having experienced pilots leave is nothing new or unknown to the Macedonian Army. As a direct consequence of silent and systematic evaporation of Macedonian Air Force, process that started from the time of the independence of our country to the time of last-year conflicts, many military pilots decided to continue their career elsewhere. In search of better conditions and higher salary, they become civil pilots or pilots in other institutions. Unfortunately, the fleeing of the military pilots continues today, even though "newly-formed" armed groups, objecting to the territorial integrity of Republic of Macedonia, operate freely, and foreign structures openly oppose the existence of our northern border. In the context of military and security situation in the region, the losses of military pilots have direct negative affect on combat readiness of Macedonian Army, which means jeopardizing of the safety of the country and all its citizens.
Besides security consequences, continuous fleeing of Macedonian military pilots will, undoubtedly, catastrophically affect Macedonian economy and, once again, it will bring under question the survival of this part of the Macedonian Army. As a result of this continuous fleeing of the younger pilots, large proportion of the active Macedonian military pilots are at the peak or at the end of their career. Deserving retirement of many current pilots is to be expected in next couple of years. In that light, the continuous fleeing of younger pilots may brings us in a position of having no trained personnel, capable to train new pilots in express time (couple of years), to replace the older Air Force personnel.
Macedonian Air Force Mi-24 over Vaksince.
Because of the age of many military pilots, taking into consideration the number of aircraft possessed by the Macedonian Air Force, and increased level of operations, a need arises there will be a need (in the next three or four years) of at least 50 young military pilots. To the unacquainted with the process of education of military pilots this might not look like a big deal. But, according to international experiences, creating one young military pilot requires four to six years of training, depending of the system of education, type of aircraft and the country. The expenses ammount, unbelievably, from US $ 2 to 5 Million. The fact that this kind of training is very expensive, is backed up by the fact that in educating one pilot is same as covering the expenses of training 150 aeronautic engineers. This fact speak for themselves, when there is the matter of economic losses that our country suffer when one of our military flees.
Solution of the problem of renewing the pilot-personnel of the Macedonian Air Force lies in educating young pilots in the country. Currently Macedonian Air Force is fully equipped with highly educated pilots capable of organizing selection, basic training, advanced training and combat training of military pilots for all kinds of military aircrafts used by the MAF. Cost estimates for completion of the course of one pilot in Macedonian Air Force, depending of type of aircraft, range from US $ 500,000 to 700,000, which is four to seven times cheaper than comparable education abroad.
As a consequence of implementing the proposed solution for training of future military pilots, current Macedonian Air Force personnel would save military funds with value of at least US $ 70 Million within next couple of years. But, that will not happen unless the continuous fleeing of experienced military pilots from Macedonian Army is stopped. First step is to raise the status of the profession military pilot.
All around the world, military pilots are considered national treasure. The classrooms used to train young military pilots in U.S.A. all display the motto: "You are the best that USA has." Before its too late, its high time the Macedonian government to realize that, too.
More info about the Macedonian Air Force by the same author:
Macedonian Air Force operates four Su-25 combat aircraft at Petrovec Air Force base (November 1, 2002).
Zurich Police Smash International Drugs Ring.
Reality Macedonia - Swiss Info
Zurich cantonal police say 89 kilograms of heroin have been seized [Keystone].
Zurich police say they have broken up an international drugs ring following the arrest of 27 people and the seizure of 89 kilograms of heroin.
Police officials said all those arrested were male, aged between 23 and 40 and come from Macedonia, Albania and the former Yugoslavia.
The origin of the drugs bust dates back to 1999, when police launched an investigation into a 39-year-old Macedonian man.
The Zurich drugs squad later widened the field of enquiry, interviewing several suspected drug pushers in the Zurich area.
Between March and December 2000, police impounded six vehicles en route to Switzerland from Macedonia, each of which contained large quantities of heroin.
In August 2000, the trail towards the recent arrests shifted to Germany, where Berlin police arrested a 29-year-old Macedonian man found to be carrying 40kg of heroin.
Vaud drugs haul.
In February of this year, police in canton Vaud made their biggest drugs haul to date when they seized six kilos of cocaine with a street value of SFr600,000 ($360,500).
Three men were arrested an Italian, a Spaniard and a Portuguese - and a bank account containing hundreds of thousands of francs was frozen.
The drugs were seized at a construction firm outside the town of Lausanne in western Switzerland. Police believe the building company, which was set up two years ago, was acting as a cover for the drugs business.
The Italian man and his suspected second-in command, the 25-year-old Spaniard, are currently being held in custody, while the 24-year-old Portuguese has been provisionally released.
Police believe the cocaine was destined for users in and around French-speaking Switzerland and abroad.
Roots of the Inter-Albanian War?
Reality Macedonia - Press Online
An article on November meetings & quarels of Haxhirexha, Xhaferi, Imeri and Ahmeti in Shipkovica from Albanian-language magazine Lobi, Skopje.
Lobi Exclusive: Ahmeti, Haxhirexha, Xhaferi And Imeri: What Was Discussed And What Was Agreed In Shipkovica?
The meetings of the ethnic-Albanian political leaders with Ali Ahmeti, the political representative of the disbanded NLA, in Tetovo's Shipkovica, have gained a large publicity, especially in the Macedonian language media, who evaluated these meetings as a new political plot of the Albanians. Lobi has managed to obtain some information about what had happened on these meetings.
During the past three days, Ali Ahmeti had had only one meeting with the presidents of the three ethnic-Albanian parties, which are considered as the most influential among the Albanian electorate. On November 4 in Shipkovica, Kastriot Haxhirexha, Arben Xhaferi and Imer Imeri were "the guests" of Mr. Ahmeti and his closest associates. This meeting was held upon a request of the political leader of the NLA and has lasted about five hours. According to "Lobi"'s information, a tensed debate has been the one between the leader of the NDP Kastriot Haxhirexha and the leader of the PDP Imer imeri on one side and Ali Ahmeti on the other side, while the president of the DPA, Arben Xhaferi, reportedly manifested a more or less indifferent stand. In this debate, Haxhirexha has explained his stand, saying that "he has not signed any political document", and, in accordance with this, he does not bare any responsibility regarding the (non)realization of these documents. Imeri has disputed the new formulations of the draft amandments for the changing of the Preamble and the position of the religious communities. He concluded that "the Albanians have not gained much from all these things that have happened".
You ask this, You ask that...Why don't you go and fight?
The word on the Tetovo streets is that to these stands of Imeri, Ali Ahmeti responded by saying: "O.K. If you think like that, why don't you go and fight!". In the continuing of this meeting, Imeri has accused Xhaferi for "many suspicious things that he does secretly, and these things are favorable for the Macedonians and are disfavorable for the Albanians", and as well as for the lack of Xhaferi's readiness to cooperate with the other Albanian parties regarding the "capital issues for the Albanians".
Although one might get the impresssion that the Albanian political leaders are informing their "boss" and are asking from him to determine who is right and who is wrong, the meeting was more something that could be described as an exchange of information and opinions, and not as a firm agreement about their unanimous appearance in the future. In fact, the relationships of Ali Ahmeti with the three parties have certain specifics regarding each and one of them individually. A thing that is in common is that all these parties, in different periods of time, have tried to become a political wing of the NLA, but Ahmeti and the NLA have skillfully managed to avoid any partial action in this organization. With its appearance, the NLA managed to practically marginalize both the PDP and the DPA, who did not manage to implement the Albanians' political demands during the time they had participated in the Government, and, in a sense, the NLA has become their harsh "opponent", even though there was no public criticism regarding the major political parties of the Albanians coming from the NLA leadership, having minded many sources that claimed NLA's anti-party mood. Ahmeti, even after the establishing of the fragile peace and the rumours about his political engagement, never said any harsh words towards the leaders of the DPA and the PDP, who could be his future political rivals.
Ahmeti indifferent towards the political parties.
The relationship with the NDP of Haxhirexha, Fadil Bajrami and Xhevat Ademi is a little bit more specific, having minded the similar engagements during their youth, but also the fact that the two NDP MP's have close connections with Fazli Veliu. In fact, these two Albanian representatives in the Parliament were the ones that had raised an initiative and assembled a petition in the spring of year 2000, which was signed from almost all ethnic-Albanian MP's, who demanded Veliu's release from the prison in Germany and the withdrawal of Macedonia's demand for extradition. It was even expected that such close ties with the NLA would enable the NDP to become the political wing of this organization, a thing that, as time passed, was proved to be untrue. During the war, in a certain period of time, the general secreatary of NDP Xhevat Ademi was seen "walking" through Shara mountains, but, nervertheless, he did not manage to get any important position in the rebel's leadership.
After the establishing of the cease-fire, on the esablishing of the local branches of the NDP in different places throughout the country, Haxhirexha's people even anounced (as they did in Skopje) the expected presence of Ali Ahmeti, which, of course, never happened. Some of the Macedonian language media gave great publicity to these claims and even proclaimed them to be true. On the other hand, those that are more informed about the political ongoings in the country say that Ali Ahmeti strongly opposes the NDP's aim for the federalization of Macedonia, and this is not his stand only for this moment, but for good. Furthermore, he consideres this concept as equaly or even more dangerous for the Albanians than the concept recently given by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts for Macedonia's division.
All that PDP does is saying "Yes"
Reportedly, the president of the DPA Xhaferi has complained that "these people from the PDP, and especially its president, act single-handedly and do not cooperate", and that "they hardly wait to go to the reporters and speak about how they demanded this or that, while during the meetings, all they did was saying yes"...
But, this is not where the meetings of Ahmeti with the political representatives of the Albanians stop. According to our sources, a day later, a larger group of PDP MP's, members of the leadership of the party and its leader Imeri had climbed towards Shipkovica. This proves that Imeri and Ahmeti did not manage to find a common language in the previous meeting, but also, they did not separate in an unfriendly manner. It seems that this new meeting was on a initiative that came from Imeri. In the evening, Ahmeti had sent cars in order to bring Imeri and his people to Shipkovica. Not that they did not have how to go there, but as a sign of showing his mood towards the PDP, although this action was justified as a "precaution security meassure". Our sources say that the receiving of this delegation was warm and friendly. As usually, the first one to speak was the host. He had elaborated about the general situation in the region and the world, with a special emphasis on the current situation in Macedonia. The Chief of the NLA General Headquarters, Gezim Ostreni, had spoken about the security situation. As "Lobi" finds out, Ahmeti had demanded an establishing of a stronger unity among the Albanians in Macedonia, while emphasizing the neutral role that NLA has towards the political parties. In this regard, Ahmeti mentioned the positive role that the parties played during the conflict. He had also given his point of view regarding the actions of the international factor in the Macedonian ongoings, especially emphasizing his dissatisfaction with the amnesty issue.
Imeri, on the other hand, has asked his fellow-party members to express their points of view, arguing that he and Ahmeti already know each-other's oppinions. It is interesting to say that, as our sources claim, this meeting resulted with the idea of giving a couter-proposal to the proposal of president Trajkovski about the changing of the Preamble. This proposal would be with "gradation of the ethnic communtiies in the Preamble". This idea was overthrown from Abdurrahman Aliti, who had previously made a retrospective of the political events, the organization that the Macedonians made against the Ohrid Agreement, the public debate that was organized among the Macedonians, etc.
The proposal was further elaborated from Ismet Ramadani, who emphasized that "Haxhirexha, Xhaferi and Imeri must urgently meet and present this proposal to international officials". This idea was supported from Ahmeti, who had taken the responsibility for organizing the meeting of the three leaders.
The Prosperitists reply.
It seems that during this gathering, the dissatisfaction of the prosperitists with the actions of Xhaferi and his DPA was not left aside. A "reterring" of Xhaferi from his favorable stand regarding the lates proposal for the Preamble was demanded. Abdyladi Vejseli has expressed more harshly his oppinion about the political "usincereness" of DPA's number one, supporting this with, as he believed, concrete examples. On the other hand, Naser Ziberi had explained about the parliamentary procedure for constitutional changes and has opposed Ahmeti's approach regarding the superior education, saying that the Framework Agreement has not solved the problem with the Tetovo University. Ziberi thinks that only the legalization of the T.U, which would be financed from the state budget, is an adequate solution for the superior education on Albanian language.
The initial missunderstanding between Ahmeti and Ziberi lies in the fact that Ziberi had a point in his discussion, because the Framework agreement forsees that, after four years, it would be the obligation of the State to finantially support the superior education on Albanian language. However, there are no concrete ideas written in the Agreement about how would this obligation be fulfilled.
A rush for proposals and meetings.
And, this is precisely the issue that marked an unnecessary rush in the Albanian political campus. There was even a proposal that came from the PDP for "trading" of the Preamble with the University of Tetovo, or the merging of the UT with "Stoel's colledge", etc. However, there are no reasons for being hasty. The university that we call "Stoel's" is an excellent project, who has managed to become a purely educational project, although, in the beginning it was considered to be a political decision. There is no reason for bringing this project to its starting positions. Besides this, the international community has taken its responsibility regarding this university. According to the Law on high Education, it is the responsibility of the internationals to finance it in the following four years. This is why it should not be allowed to the Government to use the SEE University as a compensation for the lack of a public university, whose lectures would be held in Albanian language as well. The State bares such an obligation, having minded that there are these kind of universities where the curricula is being teached on Macedonian language. In this direction, time works on the Albanians' side.
On the meeting with Ahmeti in Shipkovica, Mahi Nesimi asked for a general unity of the Albanians regarding many issues, but not as far as the changed Preamble is considered. He has given his stands regarding the dissatisfaction of the Albanians with the exception of this status. He had illustrated this with the 1991 events, when the actual constitution was approved, and has drawn an attention to the fact that the status proposed for the Albanians now "is more disfavorable compared to the one they had in 1974". Ahmeti had agreed with this oppinion. Abdurrahman Aliti interrfered by saying that the offered premble negates Albanians' authoctonity. The people present did not comment on this. In this conversation, Ahmeti's people, mainly consisted of high military officers, did not interfere at all, showing their respect towards their political leader.
"Lobi" has also managed to obtain the information about another meeting of PDP's leader with Ahmeti held on Friday, but there are no information about who these leaders were. The subject of this meeting was again "the analyzing of the situation" and Albanians' actions. But, this is not where gatherings of this kind stop, because on Saturday, there was another group of leaders that visited Shipkovica. This time, it were the leaders of the NDP. As it seems, the visits to this village above Tetovo continue. Several PDP leaders, who are more stubborn in their stands for refusing the latest draft of the Preamble were seen in Ahmeti's residence yesterday, on November 11. They have asked from him to find a solution for this issue. Who will persuade whom, it remains to be seen in the days to come.
EU-Bulgaria Consultative Committee Opens 7th Meeting.
Varna, on the Black Sea, April 16 (BTA) - A letter by Bulgarian chief negotiator Meglena Kouneva to the social partners says that a study will be made of the human-resources aspects and the social and economic implications of the future closure of the Kozlodoui N-plant. The letter was read out at the opening of the 7th meeting of the EU-Bulgaria mixed consultative committee and was made public for the press by committee executive secretary Branimir Handjiev.
The study will get 200,000 euros from Phare. It will involve experts of the social partners and the public will have access to the results at all stages of the study.
Regional policy and the future of the structural funds and the social policy were on the agenda of the first day of the committee meeting.
The president of the Bulgarian Industrial Association Bozhidar Danev gave a presentation on the principle of partnership and getting the social and economic partners involved in the preparation of the country for participation in the EU structural funds.
Among the participants in the meeting are Konstantin Trenchev of the Podkrepa Labour Confederation, Zhelyazko Hristov of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, representatives of the Bulgarian Women's Union, the Federation of Cooperatives, the head of Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria Dimitris Kourkoulas and officials of the European Economic and Social Committee.
Labour and Social Policy Minister Lidia Shouleva is expected to join in in the afternoon. She will present the government position on social policy, including the debatable issue on minorities.
Skopje, April 16 (BTA) - Bulmak 2000 of Varna and Marikor of Bourgas are among the bidders for the Skopje bus manufacturer FAS 11 October. This emerged as the offers were opened in the international tender for one of the most popular Macedonian machine-building companies.
Also bidding are two Macedonian companies.
Bogdan Damyanovski of Bulmak believes that they submitted the best offer.
"We bid 9 million euros while the other prices vary from 1.5 to 2 million euros," said he.
The Varna company promise to keep the current 800 jobs except for those who meet the retirement requirements or volunteer to leave, said Damyanovski.
FAS has been idle and mired in a serious financial crisis on the threashold of bankruptcy. People in Skopje see sale as the only chance for recovery of what used to be the pride of the national machine-building industry. They also hope to see work coming their way as the Greek capital will need some 4,000 new buses to meet its needs during the Olympic Games two years from now.
BULGARIA - PRESIDENT - CRIME.
President Urges "All-Out Offensive Against Crime."
Sofia, April 16 (BTA) - "The State needs to launch an all-out offensive against crime," President Georgi Purvanov said Tuesday, opening a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security (CCNS), which discussed the anti-crime efforts of state institutions.
"First and foremost, the Council must show that there is cohesion among the various institutions, that the contradictions within them and among the various bodies are now a matter of the past, and that state and citizens' structures have a clear political will to combat crime," Purvanov said.
"Over the last twelve years, certain political circles encouraged violence and nihilism with respect to the State," Purvanov further said. The President described as "very alarming" the fact that sometimes crime victims do not contact government structures in order to mete out punishment.
"When we discuss the causes of crime, we also have to consider the low motivation of those officers who are supposed to conduct the fight. The State is very much to blame for this situation," he said.
The CCNS will back an Interior Ministry initiative for urgent elaboration and adoption of an anti-crime strategy for 2002-2005, a concept for the Interior Ministry reform, and a new law on the Interior Ministry, Purvanov said.
"Encouragement must be given to the Interior Ministry's efforts to create an integrated system of personnel recruitment, training and employment," the President also said. He noted the need to ensure "greater social stability" for the officers working in this sphere.
"A new penal code and a new code of criminal procedure must be adopted, so as to allow the members of the judiciary to work more effectively" Purvanov said and urged support for a relevant proposal by Justice Minister Anton Stankov. According to the President, state institutions do have certain achievements in countering offenders.
Simeon asked for bread and money.
PM Plants Trees in 'Lyulin' and 'Fakulteta'
The PM was welcomed by Gypsies from the 'Lyulin' residential region in Sofia, carrying the national flag and the flag of the European Union. Banners decorated the balconies of No 254 block of flats, inhabited mainly with Gypsies. Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha gave a personal example in the national greenery campaign. After an improvised ceremony Simeon walked on foot towards the Fifth micro-region in order to have an opportunity to talk with people. In front of 75th school he had to again take part in planting. There the Gypsies met him with mixed feelings. Some of them cried 'We want our King', others 'We want money and bread'. The entourage of Simeon gave out paper hats, made especially for the governmental ecological campaign.
Only in Tuxedos at Simeon's Reception.
It was raining cats and dogs yesterday just before the beginning of the reception, which PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha organized on the occasion of the establishment of the NMS party. Some of the guests worried that they were not in tuxedos. Greece's ambassador to Bulgaria Michael Chrystidis was by 10 minutes late. Almost all ministers, who were in Bulgaria, attended the party. Except for the diplomats, the political and control councils of the NMS party were invited as well as its deputy-chairmen and some heads of parliamentary commissions. But the rank-and-file founding MPs received no invitations.
Terrorists Hide in Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria there are agents of Hamas and Hisbula, Israel's ambassador Emmanuel Ziesman released yesterday after meeting Parliamentary Chairman Ognian Gerdjikov. Agents of these organizations took part in the rally of Arab nationals in the weekend in Sofia.
BULGARIA - NATO - EU.
Right-Wing Opposition Leader Meets with NATO Secretary General.
Brussels, April 16 (BTA exclusive by National Television correspondent Zornitsa Venkova) - NATO's enlargement topped the agenda of a meeting between Nadezhda Mihailova, leader of Bulgaria's opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, held in Brussels on Monday evening.
Mihailova assured Lord Robertson that "the UDF will do everything within its powers to ensure that, in Prague, Bulgaria will obtain an invitation to NATO membership." The former Bulgarian foreign minister added that "the Bulgarian public has made its choice, and this is the strongest argument."
During the working dinner, which lasted more than two hours, Mihailova and Robertson considered Bulgaria's preparation for NATO membership and the expectations of the 19 member states. In this context, the two discussed the fight against corruption and the functioning of the judiciary system.
These topics will be discussed again next week in Brussels, during the annual review of the implementation of Bulgaria's Action Plan for NATO Membership. The decision on a possible membership invitation to Bulgaria is to be made by the leaders of the 19 member states; although this is a matter of the future, observers in Brussels say that Bulgaria's chances are improving.
Mihailova also told her host that "the UDF will strive to guarantee that Bulgaria's enthusiasm about NATO will not vanish after the Prague Summit."
During her working visit to Brussels, Mihailova also met with European Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.
"We want to show that we are able to implement a European-style policy even when we are in opposition" was Mihailova's principal statement during her talk with the Commissioner. The two discussed the functioning of the judiciary system and the state administration.
Noting that the Bulgarian administration is experiencing pressure and has been accused of "running political errands," Mihailova requested Verheugen's support to ensure that no changes will be made in the administration, as they would delay the institutional reform.
Verheugen briefed the former Bulgarian foreign minister on a report currently prepared by the European Commission concerning the effectiveness of the state administrations in the EU candidate countries, which will be delivered at the Seville European Council in June.
Earlier in the day, the Commissioner discussed the same topic at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. He told the Committee that the decommissioning of the four older reactors of the Kozlodoui Nuclear Power Plant is a condition for Bulgaria's accession to the EU.
The Sofia government has stated its commitment to have the plant's two oldest reactors closed before the end of 2002, Verheugen said. As for Power Units 3 and 4, the Bulgarian authorities wish that they operate until 2008-2010, whereas the position of the European Commission and the 15 member states is that they should be decommissioned by 2006, Verheugen recalled at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He reiterated this view during his talk with Mihailova.
Varna Sea Sold Out.
The port and hotels in the resort were privatized in a package.
The yacht marina in the 'Zlatni Pyasatsi' (Golden Sands) resort is illicit. Former rulers in the Kostov-led government sold out the hotels, the seaside and the harbour equipments to the private-run 'Zlatni Pyasatsi' company in April 2000, NMS MPs Stephan Minkov and Stilian Grozdev released in Varna yesterday. Although the law stipulates the ports as public state property and no one is entitled to trade in them, the Zlatni Pyasatsi' yacht marina is in the assets of the tourist venture after the resort's denationalization. Currently, the port is rented to 'Marina Commerce' company.
Europe To Allot BG Credit on Central Heating Repair.
A committee with the Sofia municipality will work on sealing an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The agreement should provide the financing of the rehabilitation of Toploficatsia-Sofia (Central Heating Company), decided the City Councillors at their regular session yesterday. The credit of 30 million euros will be for the repair of the central heating network and the individual thermal-heating-stations of the company's subscribers. So far, it's not clear, if the Finance Ministry will provide the credit with a state guarantee.
Bulgaria, Turkey to Sign Agreement on Cooperation in Coast Security.
Sofia, April 16 (BTA) - Bulgaria and Turkey will sign an agreement on cooperation in guarding the coast.
A delegation of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry led by Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov leaves Edesnday on a three-day official visit to Turkey, said the Interior Ministry press office.
It will be Petkanov's first visit to Turkey. He has been invited by his Turkish counterpart Rustu Kazim Yucelen.
On Wednesday in Istanbul, Petkanov will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz at the Cemal Resit Rej congressional centre. Later in the day he will confer with the Istanbul governor Erol Cakir and with the chief of security Hassan Ozdemir.
On April 18 he will have a meeting with his counterpart Yucelen followed by plenary talks of the two delegations. On behalf of the governments of their countries, the two interior ministers will sign a cooperation in coast guarding.
During his visit Petkanov also has a meeting scheduled with the Turkish Minister of State Nejat Arseven.
The last official visit to Turkey by a Bulgarian Interior Minister was in December 1999 when Bogomil Bonev was in Ankara. In February last year a delegation of the Turkish Interior Ministry was on an official visit to Sofia led by the then interior minister Saadetin Tantan.
The two countries have effective agreements on cooperation in fighting terrorism, organized crime, drugs trafficking and illegal migration. In February last year they signed a protocol of understanding between the two Interior Ministries.
Six Black Sea nations discuss operations of joint naval force.
KIEV, Ukraine - Naval commanders of six Black Sea nations began three days of meetings in Crimea on Tuesday to plan this year's activities of the region's joint marine force.
On the agenda for Blackseafor's second year of cooperation are anti-terrorist operations, humanitarian and search and rescue missions, and ecological monitoring, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.
Other Blackseafor tasks could include minesweeping operations and participation in peacekeeping operations under the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Blackseafor has no permanent presence or offensive capability. Signatory countries commit resources based on availability and areas of expertise. All decisions require unanimous approval.
Command of the force rotates annually among the members Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Turkey according to alphabetical order.
A Turkish Admiral headed the joint command in 2001. This week, members will appoint a Ukrainian commander to lead the group in 2002.
The pact creating the world's first regional multinational alliance of navies was signed last April in Istanbul.
MRF on Richter Shook Power-vested.
The NMS could miss Dogan's time while awaiting for the right time to come.
Manfred Richter is a member of the Managers' Board of the Friedrich Nauman Foundation and former CEO of the FDP PG in the Bundestag. Through him Ahmed Dogan, leader of the MRF (the party of the Ethnic Turks), told the rulers what they should have already guessed. The German politician sent significant messages to the NMS at the seminar, held by the MRF in Borovets in the weekend. Richter explained to the leaders of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and its representatives in the executive and legislation powers the European practices of coalescing. The MRF is the political force having less intraparty collisions as compared with the others. The problems of the movement have always been in line with partnership. At the time, Dogan showed that if the partnership would leave the framework of the pre-agreements, he would tear up the agreement. Maybe the NMS will soon get aware that while awaiting for the right time, they've missed Dogan's time. "We have no serious coalition paper fixing clear-cut rules of the game," Emel Etem elaborated. To her, there was not a comprehensive answer if there would be a new agreement with the ruling NMS. Any agreement means a contract on the responsibilities assumed. The MRF would never let themselves losses in the arena of the politics because they are a respectable team of skilful players. A week or so ago, Dogan was flat that he was not to ask for more top posts for his people. Even so, Plamen Panayotov, in his capacity of the deputy NMS leader, said for the Bulgarian National Radio, that there was not to be a second agreement with the MRF. Evidently, not keeping in mind Dogan's semiotics - the latter is a politician never doing anything at random. Obviously, Panayotov has not realized that Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha himself is seeking for a general consensus. Even at a high price.
Parliament Decides State Commission on Information Security Will Implement Classified Information Policy.
Sofia, April 16 (BTA) - Parliament decided that a state body should be set up to implement Bulgaria's policy for protection of classified information.
The State Commission on Information Security will be a primary grantee of budgetary obligational authority. It will be aided by an administration whose activity, structure and organization will be regulated by organizational rules adopted by the Council of Ministers. The Commission will have five members, including a chairman and a deputy chairman appointed for five-year terms by a government decision on the prime minister's proposal.
A second reading debate on a bill on classified information protection, sponsored by the government, opened on Tuesday.
Access to classified information will be given only to persons who are given permission for access in keeping with the need-to-know principle. It entails access only to definite classified information and only to persons whose official duties require it.
A state secret was defined as information unauthorized access to which would threaten or harm Bulgaria's interests connected with national security, defence, foreign policy or the protection of the order enshrined in the Constitution.
Parliament decided that when there is a risk of detriment to state interests as a result of unauthorized access to classified information, the new State Commission on Information Security should provide guidelines and plans for action. The Commission will analyse and assess the level of preparedness to protect classified information, and will arrange measures to prevent the adverse effects of unauthorized access. It must immediately report to the prime minister any case of unauthorized access to information marked as "strictly confidential".
The security services must vet their employees and job applicants, and issue, cancel and revoke their permits. They must also examine natural and juristic persons applying to sign a contract involving access to classified information, or executing such a contract. The security services will issue certificates of conformity to the security requirements pursuant to this law.
The National Security Service will vet persons who need to work with classified information. It will issue, cancel, revoke or refuse permits for access to the respective classified information.
The public order services will probe the reliability of their employees and job applicants and will issue, cancel or revoke their permits.
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, who attended the sitting, called on the National Assembly to pass the Classified Information Protection Act as expeditiously as possible. NATO experts have described the bill as one of the best in the NATO applicant countries, Passy said.
Granted Bulgaria's foreign policy priorities, any delay would have a negative impact on the assessment of its preparedness to join NATO, and would compromise Sofia's political will to continue and speed up the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.
The adequate and timely regulation of public relations in a sensitive area such as the protection of classified information is a key condition and a major task in the process of meeting NATO standards, Passy said. The creation of a legal and institutional framework in the area of information protection is a strategic priority of the Bulgarian government in the process of integration into NATO; it is also a key component of the NATO Membership Action Plan, Passy said.
An adequate statutory framework is absolutely necessary in the process of provision and exchange of information with NATO and its members. This is a compulsory requirement for building an administrative capacity which will carry out a reform in security, according to Passy.
The lack of an effective law on information protection poses difficulties to the institutions and internal information exchange, as well as to the reform of the security services, Passy said. Comparative analysis shows that Bulgaria is lagging behind the rest of the NATO applicant countries. Most Central and East European countries applying for NATO membership have solved this issue, Passy said.
The Foreign Ministry, jointly with the Interior Ministry in general and the National Security Service in particular, as well as other interested departments, have held consultations with the NATO Office of Security and have taken into consideration many remarks, reflected in the proposed bill, Passy said. The bill answers the public need for legal regulation of this area and must be passed as quickly as possible.
Passy said that very important meetings would be held next week, both on April 23: Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will meet President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, and Defence Minister Nikolai Svinarov and the foreign minister will participate in a 19+1 meeting in Brussels to discuss progress in the implementation of the NATO Membership Action Plan. "That is why I urge Parliament to help us add one more law to the baskets we are taking to Washington and Brussels," Passy said.
Svinarov told journalists in the corridor of Parliament that enacting such a law is one of the conditions for inviting Bulgaria to join NATO. An invitation means that information security must be mutually guaranteed, which "is not the case between us Partners and the Member States". Svinarov said the law in its present form had been cleared with the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
"I do not think this is being done too quickly; on the contrary, the passage of the Classified Information Protection Act has been delayed," Svinarov said.
Metodi Andreev, chairman of the committee on access to former State Security records, said the enactment of the law would rule out having the State Security archives declassified by a civil commission.
"A major opportunity to seek national consensus on how to deal with the former State Security records has been missed," Andreev said in the corridor of Parliament.
The Commission on Disclosure of Records and Ascertainment of Involvement with the Former State Security or the Former Intelligence Agency of the General Staff will discuss a letter to the Council of Europe about this law, Andreev said. Letters will also be sent to the European People's Party, the diplomats in Bulgaria and US President George W. Bush, he said.
After the Classified Information Protection Act is passed, Bulgaria, if invited to join NATO, will face problems connected with "serious leaks of information" to intelligence services of NATO foes, Andreev said. It is no secret that former State Security officers formed the basis of Russian agents in Bulgaria, he said.
Commenting on the proposed disbanding of the commission on State Security records, Nadezhda Mihailova, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces and floor leader of the United Democratic Forces (UtdDF), said this was an alarming signal and the UtdDF would react accordingly. The public wants to know the truth about key figures of the executive and the other branches of power, Mihailova said.
During the debate a group of people carrying placards saying: "We want the truth" protested in front of the Parliament building against the repeal of the law on State Security records proposed by the bill and the disbanding of the commission on disclosure of those records.
Beauty from the Seaside Is Miss Bulgaria.
The audience filled up hall No 3 of the NPC.
Teodora Burgazlieva was the unquestioned winner at the 'Miss Bulgaria '2002' competition on Sunday evening in the National Palace of Culture (NPC). The 16-year-old beauty became a favourite of the audience. Before and after the semi-final the audience in hall No 3 loudly applauded the charming brunette. She will represent our country at the 'Miss World' contest. Teodora received a 'Fiat Punto' as an award for her victory. The kingly bearing and the charming smile of Teodora enchanted even the fastidious jury. Its honourable chairman was Ivan Slavkov. Its chairmen were the head of 'Visages Model Group' Evgenia Kalkandzhieva and Strahil Ganovsky, who owns the licences for 'Miss World' and 'Miss Universe' for Bulgaria. The chairwoman of the parliamentary media commission Milena Milotinova, Director General of BNT Kiril Gotzev, Turkish businessman Eniz Yozkan, film producer Gean Franco, Bulgarian 'Miss Europe' Irina Papazova were among the members of the jury.
U.N. authorities repatriate 133 Turkish citizens after landing in Kosovo.
By GARENTINA KRAJA, Associated Press Writer
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - U.N. officials have prevented a planeload of Turkish citizens from entering Kosovo on their way to Western Europe in what was the largest man-smuggling operation discovered in the province, a U.N. official said Tuesday.
The 133 mostly young Turkish citizens, who arrived on a regular flight from Istanbul Monday afternoon, had valid passports. They claimed to be en route to Western countries but had not valid visas, said Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Kosovo. Only 22 out of 155 passengers were allowed to enter.
Turkish citizens do not need visas to enter Kosovo and Albania.
"They wanted to go to Western Europe, but had no Schengen visas to do so," said Angeli, referring to European Union visas needed by most citizens from the Balkans and the Middle East.
United Nations police spokesman Barry Fletcher told The Associated Press: "We spoke to some of the people from that plane and they told us that they paid an organization or an individual for them to be taken via Kosovo to Albania and then transported to other European countries from there."
The first group of 112 passengers was repatriated immediately with the same plane. The second group comprising 21 people was kept in the Pristina airport's transit area overnight and was expected to be sent back to Turkey later Tuesday.
Some of the Turkish citizens claimed they had paid 3,000 euros (dlrs 2,632) to make the trip to Kosovo, seen often as a staging area by illegal immigrants in hopes to reach Western Europe, mostly by traveling through neighboring Albania.
Two Turkish citizens and two ethnic Albanians were identified as crime suspects and an investigation against them was launched by the authorities, Angeli said.
Kosovo, while officially part of Yugoslavia, is run by the U.N. and NATO-led peacekeepers who forced Yugoslav troops out of the province in 1999 to stop former President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanians.