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Hemus-2002 Fifth Army Equipment, Arms and Technologies Exhibition opens in Plovdiv. Pressphoto BTA photo: Vladimir Yanev


In Kumanovo - Lipkovo region is somewhat calmer the last few days, army's sources report.
There have been five separate cases of disturbances by infantry weapon's shots. Shootings have been registered from the area of the villages of Lipkovo, Slupcane and Vaksince.
Patrolling of ethnically mixed police teams continues without any problems.
There is no gunfire in Tetovo crisis region Wednesday morning, unlike Tuesday night when shootings from different kind of infantry weapons occurred in the town and the neighboring villages, MIA's corespondent reported.
Series of burst of fire and occasional shootings were registered Tuesday night by Interior Department, coming from the area of Textile High School "Goce Stojcevski", elementary school "SS Cyril & Methodius," SEE University, settlement Kupenik, Gorna Carsija, Sipad, Teke and from some other areas of the town.
Shootings occurred in Rasadiste locality, Gajre, Lisec, Mala Recica, Odri, Dobroste, Ozormiste, Dzepciste, Palatica, Strmnica and from direction of other villages in Tetovo region.
Shootings, coming from several city areas and surrounding villages were heard in Tetovo late Tuesday, MIA's correspondent reported.
From the afternoon till 21.30 hours, shotguns were registered in the area around the primary school "Kiril and Metodij", secondary school "Mosa Pijade", the SEE University, the residential building "Block 82", as well as in the locality Rasadiste, and the villages of Mala Recica, Gajre, Strimnica, Trebos, Ozmoriste and Odri.
In the villages Sipkovica, Gajre and Lisec in Tetovo region, also Slupcane in Kumanovo region, starting from Tuesday, the necessary conditions for 24-hour police patrolling are obtained, Media Center to the Government Coordinate Body of Crisis Management reads the announcement.
Starting from December 2001 to present days, according to the General Plan for bringing back security forces in crisis regions, 120 from total 143 inhabited places have obtained such conditions.
At the moment police patrolling is underway in five villages in Kumanovo region and in twelve in Tetovo region.
The plan does not include the villages of Belanovce, Gorno Zlokukane and Straza in Kumanovo region, as well as the villages of Tanusevci, Malino and Brest in Skopje region. The mine clearing has not been performed yet in these places, thus the danger of not exploded devices is still present. Neither the Crisis Center nor the European Monitoring Mission and OSCE can guarantee safety to the inhabitants of this six villages.
Macedonian Parliament Adopted Declaration Against Kosovar Albanian Resolution.
Reality Macedonia
By Irina Gelevska
As expected Albanian deputies either "disappeared" or voted against the territorial sovereignty of their country, Republic of Macedonia.
Skopje -This afternoon, MPs in the Macedonian Parliament adopted a Declaration for rejection of the Kosovo's Resolution, which claimed that Macedonia has taken 2.500 Ha of Kosovo's territory.
68 MPs, all from the Macedonian political parties voted "for" the Declaration and all MPs from the Party for Albanian Prosperity (PDP) voted "against". The MPs from the DemocraticParty of the Albanians (DPA) were not present at the Parlamentary session.
The spokespersons of NATO, OSCE and EU in Skopje, Craig Ratcliff, Florin Pasniku and Irena Gjuzelova, said today that there is no open border issue for the International Community and that Macedonian-Yugoslav border is marked by the last year's Agreement for demarcation of the border.
"The idea of the Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski for direct talks among the Macedonians, Albanians and Serbs for the all open issues without representatives of the International Community is generally good, but for us, the border between Macedonia and Kosovo is clear and determined," said NATO Spokesman Craig Ratcliff at the today's regular press-conference in Skopje's hotel "Kontinental".
The Macedonian Parliament unanimously with 68 votes "for" and not a single vote "against" adopted Wednesday afternoon the Declaration on the situation in part of Macedonia's northern border towards FR Yugoslavia.
With the Declaration the Assembly concludes 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, i.e. by a representative body of the interim institutions of Kosovo self-government 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 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".
The Macedonian Parliament states that this act is an interfering in the internal affairs of Macedonia and is an attempt to justify Kosovo's involvement in the armed terrorist and other violent operations in Macedonia so far, as well as possible utilization of the means of force and violence in the region.
In the framework of the 107th session, the Macedonian Assembly accepted the Government request for reviewal of the 12 laws of the Framework Agreement this afternoon.
According to Justice Minister Ixhet Memeti, the changes practically mean the implementation of the regulations by the 5th amendment of the Macedonian Constitution, i.e. realisation of the regulations of the Agreement.
These are the changes and supplementation of the laws on internal affairs, ID, birth registry, security in road traffic, criminal charges, common management procedure, management disputes, state employees, Law on publishing of laws and other acts in the "Official Gazette", as well as changes and supplementation of the Law on organisation and work of organs of state management and Law on census of population, households and apartments in the Republic of Macedonia.
After determining the agenda of the 107th session, the Assembly began the discussion on the proposal for passing a law on compensation of clients of savings banks "TAT", "Alfa S" and "Lavci".
This legal project envisages a deadline of 45 days, in which all requests of the clients up to 1,000 Euro should be paid. The requests of the clients over this amount will be solved with the issuing of convertible certificates.
During the discussion, several deputies asked the Government to compensate the clients of several others savings banks, such as "Jugoreklam" or "Lambros" from Resen. The Government representative, Deputy Minister of Finance Petar Duljanov emphasised that they were not registered as savings banks, but as enterprises.
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and leader of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (SSM) Vanco Muratovski signed late Wednesday an agreement on the lowest salary in public sector, putting an end to a few-day strike of employees in this sector.
According to the agreement, the lowest salary in public sector will be at Denar 5,060.
"This is a historical moment, as it took a decade to determine the lowest salary in Macedonia, which presents a pillar of the state and trade union democracy.
We should all be satisfied. This is not a victory of SSM and the Government, but of the citizens of Macedonia " Muratovski said after the signing ceremony.
Expressing satisfaction with signing of the agreement, Georgievski said the increasing of the lowest salary was done in a very difficult year for Macedonia.
Such action would not mean new debts for the country, but was based on the Government's thrift and the financial surplus, registered in the first few months of 2002, he added.
Georgeivski expressed hope that same agreement would be signed for the industrial sector.
He said that about Denar 2,3 billion from the budget would be allocated for meeting of the agreement obligations, including the raising of pensions.
In regard to SSM demand on the status of employees at loss-making companies, Muratovski said that the Government and SSM would make a decision on the issue in June, which will meet the demands of those employees.
The International Monetary Fund is generally pleased by the application of the Staff monitoring program in the Republic of Macedonia in the first quarter of this year.
As the Head of the IMF mission, Franec Rozwadowski, said the meeting with the Ministry of Finance carried out on Wednesday were focused on the realization of this program and on launching of negotiations for starting of a new program.
According to Rozwadowski, "all parameters of the Staff monitoring program were satisfied, especially the implementation of the program that concerns the budget." This, as he said, is due to the good collection of the taxes, such as the Value Added Tax and the tax for financial transactions.
The Head of the IMF mission in Macedonia said that as a result of the good monetary management of the central bank, the foreign currency reserves have drastically increased. "Numerous structural reforms were also introduced last year, such as the cancellation of the Bureau for payment turnover, which marked the end of Macedonia's transformation and proved its commitment for implementing a modern system of payment," Rozwadowski stated, adding that in the framework of the Ministry of finance, significant progress was achieved by the Treasury sector, which enabled enhanced control over the expenditures and better management with the cash.
According to the IMF, the adoption of the Law for banks is a significant structural element of the Staff monitoring program.
"However, the decision of the government to pay reimbursement to the clients of the TAT savings bank and of two other banks was the largest obstacle in the negotiations with the mission," Rozwadowski estimated. This policy, in his opinion, "burdens the budget, which is the reason why this year it will surpass the limit agreed in the letter of intention."
The position of the mission is that public funds should not be used for giving reimbursement to the clients of the bankrupt banks, but that should be done with sale of the residual means of the bankrupt banks.
Minister of finance Niklola Gruevski said that despite the position of the IMF, the government intends to carry out the decision that was previously announced and which refers to giving compensation to the TAT's clients.
The mission also launched the negotiations regarding the new stand-by arrangement with the Macedonian ministry of finance, which will be supported by the fund.
"The negotiations are not completed yet, because they are in close connection with the macroeconomic projections that come out from the previous program," Rozwadowski said, adding that the mission would remain in contact with the Macedonian government in order to continue the negotiations. He expressed hope that the agreement for a new arrangement would be achieved by the end of this year.
Regarding the governmental salary policy, the IMF believes that the increase of the salaries should be made after it is analyzed how it would impact the budget and the economic growth.
The IMF fully supports the decision of the government to reject the draft for changes to the law for employment, which is in assembly procedure.
"If the government wants to provide social protection to the employees from the bankrupt companies, that should be done through severance pay and training, and not through changes in the law," Rozwadowski said. In his opinion, the adoption of the suggested amendments would severely impact the budget and would negatively influence on the functioning of the labor market and the employment.
Minister Gruevski said that the analysis carried out by the Mission for the completion of the Staff monitoring program in the first three months showed that the government has fulfilled almost all parameters that referred to the incomes and expenditures from the budget and the monetary policy. Besides this, as Gruevski said, there was significant progress achieved in the resolving of the problem with the bankrupt enterprises, which was recently concluded by the World Bank. The reforms in the treasury system were also hailed.
According to Gruevski, "there are good chances the negotiations with the IMF for the second arrangement to be completed by October of this year."
Ljube Trpevski, governor of the Central Bank, is also optimist that the negotiations for the second arrangement with the IMF would be completed by October and that Macedonia would receive the funds approved at the Donors' conference and which refer to the arrangements. Governor Trpevski said that in the next period the Central bank would use all the instruments in order to carry out its task - maintenance of the price stability.
Almost one-half of the funds approved at the Donors' conference and which refer to the implementation of the Framework Agreement were already submitted, Gruevski said. The other half, which is connected with the realization of the Staff monitoring program in the first three months, are due to arrive, and those that refer to the new arrangement will be submitted by the end of the year.
According to the information from the Ministry of finance, so far a credit from the World Bank in amount of US $15 million, donation from Holland worth US $25 million, 12 million credit from the EU, and three million Euro donation from the Great Britain were submitted. So far from the Donors' conference total of US $80 million were granted, and Macedonia expects to also receive a credit from the PSAL arrangement worth US $15 million and additional US $20 million from the FESAL arrangement.
Changes In ARM HQ.
Reality Macedonia
By Irina Gelevska
Skopje, 29.05.2002 - Today, President of Macedonia Boris Trajkovski signed the orders for new appointments in the Headquarters of ARM (Army of Republic of Macedonia).
The new Deputy Chief of Staff for combat planning and operations is General Sokol Mitrevski, and new Deputy Chief of Staff for civil defense is General Zheidin Tushi (ethnic Albanian).
The Border Brigade got a new Commander- General Abdel Kenteshi (ethnic Albanian).

"M-Tel" Saves Ljubcho's Life.

The company will urgently remit the money that lacks for his liver transplantation in a Hamburg clinic. This is a life-saving surgery for a 8-month-old baby. The decision was taken yesterday by the Supervisory Board of the mobile operator after a conference call to company's CEO, Roumiana Kioutchukova, who is currently in Paris. The idea for this humane act comes from Martin Schlaff, member of the Supervisory Board of M-Tel.
Mayor's Associate Hanged Himself

in the Albotine monastery near his native village of Gradetz. A 43-year-old businessman Bogomil Staneev committed suicide because of financial problems, sources from the police said. He's the leader of the 'Free Democrats' Union in Vidin. They found him hanging from a tall tree. They had to call a fire truck to take down the body. This is a personal tragedy, Sofia mayor said.


Photo: Standartnews
Meglena Kouneva Elected Minister for European Affairs.
Sofia, May 29 (BTA) - Parliament voted 130-10, with 61 abstentions, to elect deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator with the EU Meglena Kouneva Minister for European Affairs.
The draft decision on the change in the Council of Ministers was introduced by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The decision gives the Council of Ministers one month to determine the new minister's functions. The minister for European affairs will be assisted by the Foreign Ministry.
The accomplishment of one of Bulgaria's key foreign policy priorities - accession to the EU, and the government's political will to successfully complete its preparation for membership calls for a change in the coordination mechanism for Bulgaria's preparation for accession, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said in his reasoning.
Bulgaria has entered the second, decisive phase of negotiations and must show an even stronger political will for accession and for making some far-reaching decisions, the prime minister said. Electing a minister for European affairs, Bulgaria will give an even clearer signal to its European partners of its commitment to carry out the necessary reforms and adopt the best practices with a view to successfully completing the negotiations and joining the EU in due course, the proposer said.
The minister for European affairs will be a member of the Council of Ministers and will participate directly in state government and the implementation of state policy, which will improve coordination and will open the way to more efficient decision-making directly linked with Bulgaria's future EU membership, the proposer said.
The opposition United Democratic Forces (UtdDF) called on the MPs to abstain because the decision required better consideration.
Asen Agov (UtdDF) said the election of a minister for European affairs divided authority over the negotiating process. Overall coordination of the negotiating process is the prime minister's, not a minister's, duty, Agov said. The minister of European integration cannot act as an arbitrator among the individual ministries in this complex process.
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said there was no risk of divided authority whatsoever. The proposal was very well considered, he said, adding that many EU members and applicant countries have a minister for European affairs.
The status of the chief negotiator had to be raised because she must direct deputy ministers and working groups, Passy said. He emphasized that Kouneva had personal qualities which had been appreciated both in Bulgaria and by its partners in the negotiating process.
Daniel Vulchev (Simeon II National Movement), Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration, said this year is of tremendous importance to EU enlargement, therefore the election of a minister for European affairs would be important both in terms of foreign policy and of domestic policy for the successful coordination of the departments working for European integration, Vulchev said.
Chetin Kazak (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) said his parliamentary group stood four-square behind the draft decision on changes in the Council of Ministers and election of a new minister.
This will prove that Bulgaria regards the negotiating process with due seriousness, Kazak said.
Atanas Paparizov (Coalition for Bulgaria) said coordination was much needed and enhancing Kouneva's role as a cabinet member would help this process. It is not enough to have a minister for European affairs; there should be a body dealing with European integration problems under the prime minister's direction, according to the MP.
Accepting the proposal to enhance the role of European integration, the Coalition for Bulgaria hopes there will soon be a discussion on possible improvements in the Council of Ministers' performance in terms of coordination and the substance of the prepared materials, Paparizov said.
Daniel Vulchev said there is a Council on European Integration chaired by the prime minister. "This is not an election of a second minister at the Foreign Ministry; what we have is a minister without a ministry but with a definite remit," he said.
"In my work as minister for European affairs I will focus on improving the coordination mechanism, particularly observation and control of the commitments undertaken in the negotiations with the EU," Kouneva said in the corridor of Parliament.
She added that she would work at the Foreign Ministry as before.
Answering a question, Kouneva said her election as minister for European affairs would lead to changes in the rules of procedure of the Council of Ministers and the Foreign Ministry. The units which will assist her will be named afterwards.
Europe Backed Bulgaria for NATO, US Did Not.


Bulgaria is on the list of the seven front-runners for Alliance Enlargement.
Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are named in the final version of a Declaration on NATO Enlargement which was adopted at the 2002 Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The final version of the Declaration says that the Parliamentary Assembly recognizes and appreciates "the efforts made by all aspirant countries towards NATO membership" and expresses "gratitude to these countries for the solidarity shown and for their contribution to the fight against terrorism and NATO efforts following 11 September." The Parliamentary Assembly notes that the seven countries, mentioned by name, "have proved their progress towards NATO membership through successful programmes of reform at home and their contributions to NATO operations in the Balkans." This wording did not figure in the original draft of the Declaration and was inserted on the motion of the German and Italian declaration. During the debate on the amendment, the US delegation said they would abstain when it is put to the vote because the US Congress and Government oppose the naming of names. A Canadian delegate said that the Canadian Government also opposes this and that she would vote against. The argument against the naming was that the countries named would slacken their efforts to comply with the reforms and the membership criteria. It was also argued that account should be taken of those countries which will not be named but which are also making efforts. After a lively debate, the amendment was carried, 65-13 with 22 abstentions. In the document, the parliamentarians call upon the Alliance Heads of State and Government at their next summit in Prague in November "to invite to commence accession talks those aspirant countries assessed to be ready for Alliance membership and whose accession is judged to strengthen security and stability in the North Atlantic area." At the same time, they agree that "a broad and regionally balanced enlargement of NATO is an essential part of the transformation of the Alliance." The Assembly members furthermore urge continued adherence to NATO's open doors principles, calling for acceleration of cooperation and partnership programmes with those aspirant countries that will not be invited in Prague. The Declaration says that the Alliance must "indicate an approximate timeframe" for the admission of further new members after the Prague Summit. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson made a televised address to the participants. He stressed that between one and nine invitations will be extended in Prague without specifying the exact number.
Teachers on Strike under Sun Shades.
Ralitza Krasteva

Processions of protesting teachers block Sofia tomorrow.
According to information from the Union of the Bulgarian Teachers more than 60% of schools will take part in the all-day protest. Around 200-270 schools and kindergartens joined the one-hour strike in Sofia yesterday, deputy chairman of the CITUB Plamen Dimitrov said. The protest in kindergartens will last from 7.30 to 8.30 p.m., while in schools it will start after the fourth academic hour. Tomorrow afternoon the teachers will gather again for a rally in front of the National Assembly. Later on the protesting people will organize a rally in which more than 200 cars will take part.
Dockers on Strike With Wives and Children.
Eli Dimova
Victoria Seraphimova

Transport Minister gave up problems in Bourgas to leave for Romania.
The wives and children of the striking dockers in Bourgas will rally today together with their husbands. Yesterday over 800 workers blocked the region around the local university. They started the rally in the downtown when the armed security guards of the private-run 'Arkous' firm gridlocked their way to the port. The negotiations between protesters, Lyubomil Ivanov and Krassimira Martinova, deputy-ministers of transport, were foiled yesterday. The condition for coming back to the negotiations' table is to take away cordons and to ensure free access to the port, sources from the striking committee said. They insist on firm guarantees for their jobs.
Bulgarians Are Debt-Ridden.
Petkan Iliev

Telephones of more than 250,000 households are cut off each months for unpaid bills.
Every fourth Bulgarian is debt-laden, to the April study of the consumers, made by National Institute of Statistics. Bulgarians turned to be the poorest people among the Central and Eastern Europeans. In the period 1989-2002 the consumption is down by 40 percent. The reason for the insolvency is the lack of ready money. Gradually, Bulgarian taxpayers gave up paying their phone, water-supply, electricity and steam-heating bills. The telephone lines of more than 25,000 households are cut off each month. Bulgarian economic climate turned out to be too severe for Bulgarian consumers. In the long run, the Bulgarians will go on consuming on the verge of poverty and we will have to forget about the consumer economic growth for the next year at the least.
Export for Russia Collapsed.
Stephan Kioutchukov

BG foreign trade deficit is $250 million.
Bulgaria's export to Russia decreased by 27.2 percent in the first trimester of 2002, and amounts to mere $20.6 million, the National Statistics Institute declared. The export to Russia is much smaller compared with other states, e.g. Romania ($37.3 million) and Macedonia (29.4 million). The import from Russia from January to March reduced by 23 percent and runs at $287.3 million. The foreign trade deficit with Russia for the same period is 266.7 million - more than the overall deficit in the foreign commodity turnover of this country - $250.8 million. The export dropped by 6.9 percent, down to $1.2 billion for the first quarter of this year. The import decreased by 4.1% to $1.6 billion.
Port Losing up to $50,000 a Day.

The daily losses for the port of Bourgas caused by the state of emergency range from $17,000 to $50,000. Despite the problems with the workers, however, the port increases the volume of work. Out of 7 ships due for processing, 4 were unloaded yesterday. Two more dockers joined in the hunger strike of their colleagues yesterday - Ismail Hassan (37) and Kostadin Kostadinov (46). The health of the three dockers who went on hunger strike four days ago has deteriorated.
Sofia, May 29 (BTA) - President Georgi Purvanov will attend the tenth meeting of heads of state/government and foreign ministers of the member countries of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, to be held in Istanbul June 24-25, the President's Press Secretariat said.
President Purvanov will be attending such a summit for the first time.

BG Prepares Heavy Green-Field Investment.
INTERVIEW Standartnews: Nikolay Marinov


Nevena Mirtcheva

Only Bulgaria doesn't treat investors on preferential terms, says Nikolay Marinov, chairman of Foreign Investments Agency.

Nikolay Marinov was born on January 3, 1947. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia as a power engineer and has a master's degree in management from the University of New York. From September 27, 2001 he is a chairman of the Foreign Investments Agency.

- Mr. Marinov, the investors of what counties show interest in Bulgaria?

- As regards the total volume of investments in 1992-2001 the leading countries were Germany, Greece, Italy and Belgium. In the last two years the investments' flow from Italy and Greece has grown considerably. In Italy this is a purposeful state policy. The investments of Turkey have noticeably increased, too. Possible accession of Bulgaria to NATO is an exceptionally important factor for the investments process in our country. If it happens, we can expect a boost in capitals' flow from such "global investors" as the USA, Japan and Germany.

- Can we expect a heavy green-field foreign investment this year?

- Yes, but I wouldn't like to give out the information before it's time for it.

- The government is preparing a new bill on foreign investments that will introduce preferential terms for investors from abroad. What kind of alleviation does it envisage?

- In my opinion, the Foreign Investments Act has to be amended and renamed. It should be called the Investments Encouragement Act. We must take measures aimed at encouragement of all investors, no matter if they are foreign or local. There is no country in Eastern Europe that doesn't apply such measures. The project also envisages to give more independence to the Foreign Investments Agency. At the moment the financing of the Agency is highly insufficient. In practice we have no funds for the investments marketing.


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