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The delegates to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly visited the Old Town in Plovdiv and did sightseeing. They bought many icons and souvenirs. Pressphoto BTA. Photo : Vladimir Yanev.

"I think that we made great and successful efforts to annulate diplomatically this irresponsible act of the Interim Kosovo Parliament. In that respect we gained the expected effects and the position of the international community considering this matter is also known," Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski said Monday regarding the adopted Resolution by Kosovo Parliament on non-recognition of the Border Delineation Agreement between Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
Emphasizing the position of the international community regarding this matter, President Trajkovski pointed out the position of the European Union and of the United States of America.
"I mostly appreciate the fact that UNMIK head Steiner signed a decision that practically declared Kosovo Parliament's resolution as null and void," he said.
Regarding the session of the Macedonian Parliament scheduled for Monday where the draft- declaration on the situation at part of the northern border towards Yugoslavia would be discussed, Trajkovski stressed that he had no right to interfere in the work of the assembly, but believes that "it is not necessary to hold such debate today considering the consequences of the legal dilemma in regard with that debate especially as that act is null and does not have any legal repercussions." He reiterated that the things done by the international community especially the position of the UN Security Council point out that this was an irresponsible act that only harms the work of Interim Kosovo Parliament.
Commenting the attacks on "Straza" watchtower and Saturday's attack on Macedonian Army in Tanusevci, Trajkovski said that "there were similar provocations before, and such provocations are also expected in the future."
"The military forces are consolidated and well-trained so along with the Defense Ministry, the Minister and me as Supreme Commander we have undertaken all necessary activities to provide the presence of our units in that area and I hope and believe that those well-trained units will efficiently eliminate all dangers and will tackle any challenge on the border," Trajkovski said.
Macedonian Soldiers Under Fire at Salvatica Village.


A group of cattle-breeders had uttered threats on the Macedonian soldiers near the village of Salvatica, Skopje region. The verbal threats turned into violence late on Sunday at 20:30 hours. The cattle-breeders hurled stones and fired heavy machine-gun rounds on Macedonian army forces, says the press release by Crisis Management Center.
Later on, about 20:45, the Macedonian soldiers had faced another attack. The attack left no casualties or injuries among the Macedonian army forces. The assailants desisted from provocative actions and attacks shortly after 20:45 hrs.
Series of violations of public order and peace had been reported last night in areas affected by the crisis, in particular Kumanovo-Lipkovo and Tetovo region.
Ethnically mixed police teams are due to re-entering into five out of eight villages in Kumanovo region envisaged by the gradual re-entry plan. The police teams will be patrolling in the villages of Strima, Dumanovce, Lukare, Gosince and Izvor.
New Attacks on the Macedonian Army.
Reality Macedonia
By Irina Gelevska
Skopje - Yesterday at 18:50 a group of [ethnic Albanian] villagers from Salvatica, a village near Skopje's Arachinovo insulted the ARM soldiers and attacked them by stones. At 20:30, three gun shuts were fired towards the positions of the Army at Salvatica. A serious armed attack against the soldiers has happened at 20:45. The soldiers returned the fire. Nobody was wounded.
Last Saturday, Albanian terrorist group attacked an army convoy near the Tanushevci watchtower on Skopska Crna Gora mountain. Assailants used rocket launchers and grenade throwers. [Consequent investigation revealed used shells and unexploded projectiles on the attackers' positions, about 80m from the road]. The soldiers returned fire. After a short battle, the attackers run away in the nearest forest. The ambushers did not manage to hurt any of the soldiers. The vehicles in the convoy suffered a small damage.
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski received on Monday Robert Serry, NATO director for the Balkans.
The meeting was focused on the recent events at the northern Macedonian border with Yugoslavia and the need from increased engagement by the NATO forces for protection of the border. In that context, it was also pointed to the need for sharper reactions by the international community in regard to the acting of the Kosovo Parliament.
Mr. Serry also referred to the scheduling of a conference of the neighboring countries in Ohrid, aimed at enhanced border security.
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski addressed Monday at the 108th Parliament session on a draft-declaration in regard to developments at the part pf Macedonia's northern border with Yugoslavia, presenting arguments for its adoption.
"We may talk about amendment of some articles if all political parties, Macedonian and Albanians, are going to adopt the draft-declaration, without changing its main point-rejection and condemnation of the Kosovo Parliament resolution. I will try to focus on several arguments that derive from the new situation in order to explain how serious this unreasonable or well thought out act of the Kosovo Parliament could be for the present and future of our country and citizens," Georgievski said.
He pointed out that non recognized borders were source of permanent disputes, such as the case with India and Pakistan, Northern and Southern Cyprus. North and South Korea, Bosnia, before signing of the Dayton Agreement, and Syria and Lebanon.
"So, examples for non-recognized borders between two neighbors, even if one is a protectorate, are well-known to the international practice. The Kosovo Parliament non-recognition of the legitimacy of the two countries-signatories of the Border Delineation Agreement, means that there are territorial aspirations, mentioned several times: once we have heard about 400, than 2,500 hectares.
In the same time we may see maps, in which at least half of Macedonia is cut. So, the issue is not only formal, as some diplomats say, i.e. that Kosovars have a wish to sign the border agreement with Macedonia instead of Belgrade. It means that we have non-recognition of the border and territorial aspiration linked connected with this problem.
The second issue that calls for an answer and has raised polemics is whether Macedonia should respond to the resolution. Unfortunately, I've heard some advisers at the President's Cabinet saying that Macedonia, the Macedonian Parliament should not level with the Kosovo Parliament. I cannot understand that such proposal comes from the President's advisers, who were not embarrassed to discuss on platforms of "commander Hoxha", "Luli" or Ahmeti in Ohrid. Those same advisers, who are giving us lectures on the Parliament's dignity, were convincing me in Ohrid how important it was to talk about the platforms of mentioned commanders in order to establish long-lasting peace and to finally close the Albanian and all other open issues in Macedonia and the region. We had no concerns about our dignity when we voted for the constitutional changes, and now those same people are talking about dignity and how we should preserve it.
This issue goes along with the Kosovo Parliament legitimacy and authorities.
I would like to point out that its legitimacy is not disputable, as the parliamentary elections in Kosovo were organized in cooperation with the international community.
The second problem-the level, is whether we should discuss with a Parliament that is under a UN protectorate. We should not see this as an advantage, but as an even greater weakness, because the UN has allowed for such an act to occur.
The problem is not decreased by the fact that such an institution passed such a declaration, but it is increased. In that direction, I would add that there are two dimensions here, one of which is the inter-state, the internationally legal-formal one. I agree with many discussions in the past few days, with the fact that everything is OK with the legal dimension, that the decisions of UN, EU, many countries and international organizations are great, when they condemned this act by the Kosovo Parliament.
I would like to remind you that there are a lot of resolutions by the UN and other international organizations in the world for solution of the problems, but in reality, I cannot see that they have been solved. Israel is a classic example, where the Security Council brought a resolution 40 years ago for a Palestine state, but it is not there even today.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of such precedents, and I would like to remind you on those statements of condemnation, negation and support of Macedonia that we received a year and a half ago, when Tanusevci occurred. The problem was shortly transferred from one side to the other, with the assistance of the international media propaganda.
These declarations are very good, but I assure you that if the machinery continues, BBC or CNN will present Macedonia as the problem in a while, along with meeting of the demands by the Kosovo Parliament and Kosovo institutions.
Thus, I think that we should not forget that the protectorate has its own institutions. I would not refer to the others, but I would like to mention the Kosovo Protection Corps, with around 4,000-5,000 armed soldiers, which functions well. Maybe is it the only institution there that functions properly. We are all familiar with the problems we had with the Corps in the course of last year, which increased by the day.
It is clear that regardless of these international declarations, we have a real problem with Kosovo, with the will of 90% of Kosovo citizens, exception being certain minorities. We have a real problem with the legitimate Kosovo institutions, such as the President, the Prime Minister, parliamentary groups of all political parties. One dimension is presented by the international organisations, and the real problem is the other dimension.
That problem brings us into a new agony today. We encountered several serious incidents last week, but those incidents could be occasional, brutal attacks, which could be reestablished in 3 years, in the time when the final status of Kosovo is to be resolved.
The problem is not in the period when these incidents would occur, but the problem is in the fact that the Kosovo Parliament gives its institutions, its Corps the right to dispute over the Macedonian border through smuggling, illegal crossing, demonstrations, incidents etc.
In a formal-legal dimension, we can agree with part of these discussions, but we cannot escape from reality that the will of the Kosovo citizens has been expressed through their legitimate institutions. Thus, they are entitled to dispute and have territorial pretensions towards its neighbor. In such an atmosphere, the least we can do is pass this declaration, with possible changes in certain articles.
The non-passing of such a declaration gives a much greater legitimate right to the other party to defend the thesis that "there is no response from the Macedonian side, so what we say is OK, thus we can continue with this discussion and the territorial requests.
I want to point out another situation, which is not very important at this moment and that is the financial situation of maintaining the army and police checkpoints in the next few years until this issue is completely resolved.
With great pleasure we made different projections for drastic decrease of the military and police checkpoints last autumn, believing that Ohrid Agreement will put an end to this issue and to all these dilemmas. This also referred to the financial situation as instead of spending the budget money on the reservists we thought we would have spend it to more productive things. Unfortunately, the opened issue on the border, does not allow us such adventure because it is obvious that Macedonia would be in a kind of constant semi military situation in the next decade and any Government should take care of the thousands reservists, soldiers and policemen because it is not certain when would the other part attack or disturb the peace and security of Macedonian citizens.
I will also focus on the Ohrid Agreement. Maybe it is our moral satisfaction that last year's crisis began two days after the signing of Border Delineation Agreement between Macedonia and Yugoslavia and the crisis is still not surpassed. Once again it became obvious that the last year's aggression from Kosovo, widely supported by the terrorist operations was not to provide the signing of Ohrid Agreement but for winning territories. We should once again acknowledge ourselves that in spite of all victims we prevented some dark scripts, we succeeded to make a defense, to strike back and to transfer the military script into Ohrid Agreement. However, although it is sad it is obvious that we are watching the second half that began with this resolution.
We will speak of the purposes at the end. We could make many assumptions but the fact is that all that we believed in - that Ohrid Agreement would end all Albanian requests, both reasonable and extremist, is over. I do not want to mention that the facilitators at that time, especially James Pardew had permanent everyday communication with Kosovo leaders, many of those leaders came here, and he used to go over there, what means that Kosovo structures were actively involved in Ohrid Agreement. Not only that nothing has been resolved, but also many new issues have been opened and we should yet see the future moves aiming towards a new destabilization not only between Macedonia and Yugoslavia, along with Serbia and Montenegro, but also in the entire region. In that respect, I want to stress that I hope that Macedonian Parliament would realize its responsibility and would adopt the final documents from Ohrid Agreement, but we can say that with the adoption of the resolution our so-exposed Ohrid Agreement is completely devaluated.
This is what we see at this moment.
I do not know how do the international representatives involved in this project feel as they cheered the project and told us many stories, but I hope that they also have that feeling of devaluation because of all our efforts made in the past year and a half and because we wasted so much energy in order to find lasting solutions and lasting stability.
Finally, let me refer to the international community, i.e. some of its structures. I want to present in brief the history of this problem with the Kosovo resolution and the Kosovo parliament. I will remind you that this problem was opened by an U.S. general whose name i do not remember, and in the same way the border was denied by UNMIK through its spokesman.
The attitude of the UNMIK head, Michael Steiner for the whole time was totally contradictory. I believe that he did nothing to prevent the adoption of this resolution from the side of Kosovo, and i also believe that he was openly supporting the Kosovo side.
I will just read you a letter from the Cabinet of Mr. Steiner sent to me. Here are a few details regarding the issues that come from the Agreement between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the FR Yugoslavia for changes to the border between the two countries. As you know, the special envoy of the UN secretary, Steiner agreed with the president in the last month for creation of a joint expert's body that would resolve the practical problems that originate from the changes of the border. A new quoting: "you know that the changes of the border caused a very negative reaction from the Kosovo state."
This is a letter from April 18, whereat Steiner literally uses the thesis of the Kosovo Parliament. Therefore, regarding the stories that someone wants to introduce here, not from the parliament but from some cabinets, that the international community has done a lot to prevent the adoption of that resolution, I want to openly express doubt that we in Macedonia, we who represent the Macedonian state institutions, we all know very well what the international community can use when it wants to achieve something.
Unfortunately, what was done to the Macedonian institutions was not present in Kosovo. Simply said, I think that it is na´ve to believe that the Kosovo Parliament and the Kosovo structures have declared this resolution without to have clear support from certain structures of the international community and complete request of support in what should follow. Of course, I do not want to make comparison with Bosnia, but let me remind you that also there the UN referent Wolfgang Petric on several occasions dissolved all parliaments and changed the compositions of both the Croatian, and the Serbian as well as the Bosnian government for ten times less important decisions than what was done today by Kosovo. In that context, let me express doubt in regard to the sincere intention of certain international structures for lasting peace, stability and economic prosperity of the countries from this region.
Let me also address the colleagues from the Albanian political parties and their leaders. I know that they are put in a tough position. Our two political parties, the PDP and the DPA, are in a very difficult position to speak against something that comes from the other side, from the Kosovo parliament. I also understand the difficulty of the position of these parties when Macedonia was exposed to violence from Kosovo. I also know the difficulty of the situation when they were forced to be introduced by Mr. Frowick to the terrorist leaders in Prizren and therefore I cannot say anything else and to send condemnation and criticism. Since I understand the difficulty of their situation, let me remind that the first article from the Ohrid agreement says that we all must support the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Macedonia, and today we do have such a problem.
During the Kosovo crisis it seemed that more international structures stand behind the Albanian terrorists and extremists. The lack of activity from the international community against the adoption of this act by the Kosovo parliament is a certain note to every Albanian which can be understood as: "everything is ours, you have open borders, the international community will do nothing even if you start new bloody actions against the Republic of Macedonia." There is no other message, except if someone tells you: "here is your border, here is the territory, go forward, we will not interfere."
I want to estimate that maybe the first glance on the matters looks like this, but I deeply believe that those structures who give you the green light today to attack against the Macedonian sovereignty and against the border have absolutely no intention to create Great Kosovo. I believe that the goal is quite transparent - permanent destabilization of the region. The fact that the Albanian extremism is ideal for being used by the same military-industrial structures is a matter that the Albanians should understand by themselves. However, having in mind what was happening in the past decade and what is happening now makes it clear that certain international structures aim not only to destabilize the region, but also to keep it blocked from a security, political and economic point of view.
That is the reason why I think that the victory against those forces whose only goal is to destabilize the region could be the voice of the Albanian political parties for integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. I think that it maybe the high time for another meeting between Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian representatives, but under condition that meeting not to be attended by a foreign representative, so finally we could start to look for solutions together.
These exhibitions do good to nobody, and the Albanians will continue to be used as catalyst for the crisis, though we are all facing with lasting destabilization of the countries from this region.
I believe that I've managed to present why this declaration should be supported, because I truly believe that the resolution we received from the Kosovo parliament is introduction to a decade-long destabilization of the relations in the region," Georgievski said.
The 108th Assembly session has been halted Monday evening, with its continuation scheduled for tomorrow.
Alksandar Florovski of VMRO-DPMNE emphasised that the draft-declaration should be adopted as a clearly expressed will of the Macedonian people.
Florovski said that the Kosovo protectorate would not emerge as a state with the Kosovo resolution. He also criticised the international community "because it created an ethnically pure territory, just as in some parts of Macedonia".
He sent a message to the Albanians that "the West will care about Kosovo as long as its interest in it, while the creation of great states will be very hard".
Florovski estimated that "the Albanians, who do not want peace, undermine the Ohrid Agreement" and asked the Albanian political block to send an appeal for ceasing of the attacks of the Macedonian security forces, and even then, as he said "he will believe in their true intentions".
Deputy Jordan Boskov said the deputies should convey the truth about Macedonia through the meetings with the European parliamentarians, because "the Ohrid Agreement is being implemented in Macedonia, while there are still kidnapped Macedonians, along with 130 burnt villages".
Mersel Biljali of PDP emphasised that since the signing of the Border Delineation Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia, the Albanian parties pointed out that "this agreement should not be hastened, because it could cause a certain political and legal position".
According to Biljali, "the Kosovo resolution denies the fact that the agreement has been signed between Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia, and not the Agreement itself, as well as the legitimacy of one of the signatory parties i.e. FR Yugoslavia".
The Democratic Party of Albanians and Party of Democratic Prosperity will vote against the draft-declaration on the situation at part of the Macedonian northern border towards Yugoslavia, which is on the agenda of Monday's urgent parliamentary session.
According to DPA coordinator Zamir Dika, the party requests the draft-declaration to be withdrawn. On contrary he said that this parliamentary group would leave the session.
"This declaration is not productive and therefore we do not want to give it a legitimacy," Dika assessed.
PDP coordinator Naser Ziberi said that this parliamentary group does not accept the draft-text of the declaration as "such declaration has neither political nor legal effect."
Social Democratic League of Macedonia according to its Coordinator Nikola Popovski will vote in favour of the declaration.
"UNMIK head Michael Steiner nullified Kosovo Parliament's resolution what means it is null and void. If the Macedonian Government has positive position on the draft-declaration SDSM would support it," Popovski said.
VMRO-DPMNE coordinator Cedomir Kraljevski thinks that the declaration is in the interest of all Macedonian citizens.
"With this declaration the Parliament wants to join the entire international public and all international institutions such as United Nations, European Union, OSCE, NATO and Council of Europe and their denouncements and reactions the resolution to be declared null and void," Kraljevski said.
The draft declaration once again asks for the Assembly to conclude that the borders of the Republic of Macedonia with all neighboring countries have been clearly defined, along with international bilateral agreements, with no disputable issues by neither of the neighboring countries.
"The Assembly is on the opinion that the opening of the issue of validity of the northern border towards Kosovo by a subject, which is a UN protectorate, passed on May 23, 2002, is an opening of a issue for determination of inter-state relations by an entity that does not have an internationally recognised state-legal subjectivity", the draft declaration states.
It is also stated that the Macedonian Assembly "firmly rejects the Resolution of the representative body of the temporary institutions in Kosovo, which is a well-thought blow on the implementation process of the Framework Agreement, as well as preparation for creation of presumptions for future rearrangement of border relations".
Macedonia Declares Cold War To Kosovo.
Sergey Stefanov
Yugoslavian Foreign Ministry demanded to summon an extraordinary Security Council session, Belgrade and Skopje raised an objection against the decision.
A resolution adopted by Kosovo Albanians lessens the value of the Yugoslavia Macedonia boundary treaty. When the resolution was being voted for, Serbian deputies in Skupstine left the assembly hall in remonstrance. Serbs intend to completely boycott work of the parliament and regional government unless international community announces an adequate reaction to the initiative of Kosovo Albanians.
Yugoslav Foreign Ministry says, the decision made by Skupstine calls into question authority of the Security Council and the UN. The Ministry is sure, the intergovernmental treaty can not be ignored, as it had been signed by two independent states (Yugoslavia and Macedonia) and approved by the UN Security Council.
But Kosovo Albanians ventured to ignore the treaty. The parliaments decision was the first among agreements to be soon passed by Skupstine for making Kosovo completely independent of Yugoslavia.
Macedonia Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski was more determined than Belgrade in his statements, when announced that Macedonia was in a state of cold war with Kosovo. The Macedonia Government is not going to establish contacts with leaders of the Kosovo Albanians and discuss boundary problems.
RIA Novosti informs, the Macedonia Foreign Ministry has got information saying that, as soon the Ohrid Treaty on Macedonian crisis settlement is fulfilled, Kosovo and Macedonia extremists plan to aggravate the situation.
Then follows an agreement on revision of boundaries between Macedonia, Albania and Yugoslavia. Albanian extremists aim at creation of Great Kosovo or Great Albania and do not worry at all about at least minimum of diplomatic convention. By the way, Greece is also part of the territory belonging to the Great Albania project. It completely supports position of Skopje and Belgrade as concerning the Kosovo resolution.
At the same time, head of the UN mission in Kosovo Michael Steiner said, the resolution on boundary revision adopted by Skupstine was invalid.
EU special envoy to Macedonia Alen Leroi expressed his opinion on the boundary problem in an address to the OSCE standing committee. He said, decision passed by Skupstine may break Macedonian peace (it would be better to say, it breaks the recently outlined internal political stability in the republic). In the envoys words, it is a delayed-action mine installed by Kosovo Albanians that can be also treated a declaration of war to Macedonia.
A special treaty on boundary problem settlement was signed by Yugoslavia and Macedonia in February 2001 and came into effect in June of the same year after ratification by parliaments of both countries.
The resolution by Kosovo Skupstine, in its turn, contradicts the Helsinki Final Act signed in 1975 and UN Security Councils resolution #1244 that says, Kosovo and Metohja are an integral part of the Union Republic of Yugoslavia.
Albanian separatists assert that four thousand hectares of land were taken away from Kosovo against the will of the civilian population.
The UN Security Council and European Union warned the regional assembly several times already that deputies were not authorized to discuss boundary or internal security problems. It was also stated that head of the UN mission in Kosovo would interpose a veto on every decision passed in contradiction to the Constitution.

Pope John Paul II to President Georgi Purvanov: "I Pray to God That He May Help the Whole People"
Sofia, May 27 (BTA) - "I thank God for the liturgical celebrations and the warmth of my meetings with people, particularly from the Christian communities," Pope John Paul II wrote to President Georgi Purvanov from the aircraft after his four-day visit to Bulgaria.
"Taking leave of your dear country, I pray to God that He may help you and the whole people," the Pope also wrote. The cable was released by the President's Press Secretariat on Monday.
The Pope expressed gratitude for the hospitality with which he was received in Bulgaria, calling it "a cherished country where I had moments of overwhelming spiritual joy from my contact with the Bulgarian Church". "True to its historical roots, it continues working freely for civil and spiritual renewal, contemplating the teachings and the noble examples its own saints have given through the centuries".
"I have never believed in the so-called Bulgarian connection in the attempt on my life in 1981," was one of the Pope's most important statements during his visit to Bulgaria, the first in the centuries-long history of Bulgaria and the Vatican. Besides Purvanov, the Pope met with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Patriarch Maksim of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and representatives of the religious communities. He laid a wreath at the Monument to the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, who invented the Slav alphabet; visited the Rila Monastery (Southwestern Bulgaria) and Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second biggest city, where he celebrated Mass.
Two Anonymous Bomb Reports Telephoned during Papal Visit to Bulgaria.
Sofia, May 27 (BTA) - A bomb hoaxer was arrested in his home on May 26, 15 minutes after calling the police to report anonymously that explosive devices had been planted in several buildings in central Plovdiv, the Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry, Major General Boiko Borissov, told a news conference at the Ministry on Monday.
The police found that the report was false and is looking for another person who levelled telephone threats against the Pope.
Another anonymous call, on May 25, according to which a bomb had been planted under a bridge near Doupnitsa (Southwestern Bulgaria), also proved a hoax.
Velichko Minchev (b. 1936) tried to enter the cordoned-off area in the centre of Plovdiv on Sunday and attend the pontifical Mass. A Waltro gas pistol with a gas and a blank cartridge in the magazine was found on his person, and he was taken to a local police station for questioning. Minchev proved to be a former teacher, without a criminal record, who had come to Plovdiv to buy second-hand books in which he was trading in Sliven, where he resides.
Minchev told the police that he had bought a gun because he had been mugged. He decided to go to the Mass after he found that the bookstalls were closed on account of the papal visit.
These were the only incidents during the Apostolic Journey of Pope John Paul II to Bulgaria and the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
There were not even traffic accidents relevant to the two events.
Georgi Tsokanis, deputy chief of the Greek National Security Service, and Dimitrious Yataganis, chief of the Athens security police, found that the Bulgarian police and special services did a perfect job, performing on a par with the European services in such cases.
49% of Bulgarians Consider Papal Visit Useful for Bulgaria, Scala Survey Shows.
Sofia, May 27 (BTA) - Pope John Paul II's visit to Bulgaria was useful for the country, according to 49 per cent of respondents in a Scala agency survey commissioned by Darik Radio.
The visit was long overdue, according to 47.8 per cent of respondents, while 29.9 per cent consider it timely.
Nearly half of those polled called the security measures "necessary and justified". An almost equal proportion of interviewees called them "overly tight and insulting" to ordinary people.
The Pope's most important meeting was with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (20.6 per cent), President Georgi Purvanov (16.6 per cent) and Patriarch Maksim (12.9 per cent).
The Pope should have met with Sergei Antonov and the other Bulgarians accused of involvement in the attempt on his life in 1981, according to 33.9 per cent of respondents; 21.1 per cent said this was necessary rather than particularly important after all this time; 18.7 per cent said it was not necessary because it was about something that happened in the distant past; 17.1 per cent said such a meeting would never have been appropriate.
Asked if they were following the coverage of the papal visit, 35.1 per cent said "as best I can", 41 per cent followed it partly, mainly in the newscasts, 15.5 per cent paid no special attention, and 8.4 per cent were not interested.
The website, which provided 40 hours of live coverage, reported that of 51,000 visitors of the site, 68 per cent were based abroad and 32 per cent in Bulgaria.
The live coverage from an Internet studio at the Hilton in Sofia began at 4 p.m. on May 23 and ended at 7.30 p.m. on May 26. Representatives of the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church, journalists and intellectuals made live commentaries on all aspects of the papal visit.
The site will continue to exist, with the entire coverage of the visit stored in a special archive.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Verheugen Expected on Two-Day Official Visit to Bulgaria.
Sofia, May 27 (BTA) - EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen is arriving on a two-day official visit to Bulgaria. On May 30, he will confer with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and will attend a meeting of the Council on European Integration with the Council of Ministers, said Government Information Directorate chief Tsvetelina Ouzounova. Thursday evening, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha will host an official dinner for Verheugen.
The agenda of the session between the PM and the Commissioner and the agenda of the Council on European Integration meeting will be announced later on.
The composition of the Bulgarian delegation, which will pay an official visit to Russia between June 3 and 6, has not yet been fixed. The delegation will be led by Prime Minister Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Bulgaria, Israel to Sign Plan for Cooperation in Health Care.
Tel Aviv, May 27 (BTA) - Bulgarian Health Care Minister Bozhidar Finkov will pay May 26-29 an official visit to Israel at the invitation of the Israeli Health Care Ministry and will sign a cooperation plan for the 2002-2006 period. The plan is based on the existing intergovernmental agreement on health care cooperation and will lay the concrete parameters for cooperation in heart surgery, tissue and organ transplants, treatment of addictions, maternal and infant medicare and emergency care.
The two ministries will exchange information and visits by experts for training purposes.
Finkov will study the Israeli system for municipal health care with the view of implementing a similar project in Bulgaria.
Compared with Expectations Foreign Investments Twice as Poor, Inflation Twice as High.
Assoc. Prof. Boyan Dourankev
Dr. of Economics

Within numbered days the citizens of this country witnesses several unprecedented events - the visit of the first and last Soviet president and ex-secretary general of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, who proved to be an ordinary human being. A little later Pope John-Paul II came and declared that he loves Bulgarians. NATO, in its turn, is holding its early assembly in the former most faithful member of the Warsaw Pact. For the rank-and-file Bulgarians, however, the miracles are not yet over. According to promises, in 400 days Bulgaria will finally pass into the New Age. Even the authors of this myth hardly believe in it any more. Compared with the expectations, foreign investments are twice as poor, while the inflation rate is more that twice as high. As for the gross domestic product, the rate of its growth is twice lower than inflation, which is twice less than necessary. Incomes do grow little by little, but on the whole the average Bulgarian is getting poorer. Paradoxical as it may sound, the expected admittance of this country to NATO will postpone the day of its accession to the EU.
Long-Drawn Return to Russian Markets.

Next Monday Premier Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is leaving for Moscow on an official visit. The development of our business relationships with Russia will to a great extent depend on this visit, even if it is strictly political. Years ago Bulgaria lost the Russian markets for its tobacco products, canned foods, wines. The licenses for arms manufacture have also been lost. Russian-made cars and machinery were displaced by the Western ones. We remained dependent on Russian Federation as regards natural gas supplies and fresh nuclear rods. After the sale off of "Neftochim" and "LUKoil" same applies to petrol. In spite of this heavy investment our country remained closed for Russian capitals. For a long time "Overgas" failed to start gasification project in Bulgaria. Now it has become clear that this year's privatization deals may be put at risk because of the Russian claims at their realty in Bulgaria. Their property is included in the assets of the biggest Bulgarian companies, e.g. Bulgartabak and DZI. Introduction of visas for the Russian Federation subjects may sharply cut down the number of tourists from these countries.
Battle for Rose Petals Started.
Matey Bonev

The poor crop may raise the price of the raw material up to 1.50 levs per kilo
In Kazanluk region in the beginning of the week the rose-picking started. This year there will be strong competition between the main firms in the branch. The buy-out of rose flowers started from 1 lev per kilo, but in the region of Karlovo the price leaped up to 1.20 levs, sources from the Association of the Rose Producers said. It's possible that the price will reach 1.40-1.50 levs. This year we expect a 30 percent lower yield. That is the main reason for the higher demand for rose petals and the higher price that distilleries offer, says Ivan Dobrev from the Kazanluk firm 'Rozinvest'. Bulgaria has exported 1323 kg. of attar of roses last year. The price is $3,700-4,000 per kilo. Most of the essential oil is sold in the USA and Canada. Among the European countries France is the major buyer. Two firms hold license for about 80% of the rose attar trade - Bulgarian firm 'Bulatars' and French-Bulgarian 'Bioland'.
Guards Drive out Strikers in Bourgas.
Eli Dimova

Private guards threaten to beat the dockers, six people started a hunger strike
In Bourgas private guards took high-handed actions against strikers. They pulled down the tent of Tzvetan Kostov which was pitched up in front of the port's offices in protest. He started a hunger strike on Saturday. The guards forced the dockers to move to the garden in front of the port and leave the region in front of the administrative building. At a general meeting yesterday the dockers decided to send a letter to President Georgy Parvanov and PM Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to insist on urgent measures to prevent escalation of violence in the port. Six dockers are on hunger strike.
No Double Rates and Commissions from Today.
Stephan Kyutchukov

From today the authorities put an end to all tricks the money-changers use to cheat customers. According to an order of the Finance Ministry, which comes into force today, there should be only one 'buy' and one 'sell' rate for all currencies. The signs defining the rates should be in two contrasting colours. No national flags are allowed. Since today the tax inspectors start their checkouts. The minimum fine is 50,000 levs, in certain cases an exchange office may be closed.

Vassilev Must Have His Pledges in Writing.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Peter Zhotev


Velislava Krasteva

Time will come when UtdDF will take the lead and set the discontent against the establishment, says Peter Zhotev.

Peter Zhotev was born on November 22, 1950 in Sofia. He is an MP from the Bourgas constituency, member of the parliamentary committee on economic policy. Zhotev was a vice-premier and minister of economy in the second cabinet of Ivan Kostov. Before that he was a CEO in the Bank Consolidation Company (BCC).

- Mr. Zhotev, what problems the port of Bourgas has faced?

- Without any agreement with the trade unions the wages in the port of Bourgas have bee drastically cut down. The downsizing is also looming. The expert workers are rushed out. The workers' claim (and I support these claims) that two of the CEOs are not professionals. On the other hand, in Bourgas there is a lot of specialists of this caliber. However, no one is looking them up.

- What could be the economic impact of this strike for the country?

- The port of Bourgas suffers great losses every day. These are losses not only for the port but for the whole country. After all this port is an industrial doorway of Bulgaria.

- In case the political status quo is not changed what will be the consequences for Bulgaria?

- The current rate of economic development will slow down. The forecast is already up to 3-4 percent a year, which is too risky for a country under monetary board.

- Could the monetary board be put at risk and Bulgaria face the situation similar to that in Argentina?

- Apart from the slow economic growth, decreasing foreign investments are another factor that could endanger the monetary board. Under the rule of the UtdDF, foreign investments exceeded $ 1 billion. This year the sum by far more modest.

- Vice-premier Nikolai Vassilev pledged over $ 1 million in investments from the USA this year, didn't he?

- We all know well how many hollow promises this guy made. Most probably he doesn't write down what he promises. His statements make him a laughing stock of Bulgaria.

- It is evident that Bulgarians are getting poorer. What will be the economic policy of the opposition in this situation?

- We shall become ever more critical. For sure time will come when the UDF will tale the lead and set the discontent against the NMS rulers.

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