SITUATION IN CRISIS REGIONS.
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.
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".
MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS DECLARATION ON BORDER WITH YUGOSLAVIA.
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.
GOVERNMENT AND SSM SIGNED AGREEMENT ON LOWEST SALARY IN PUBLIC SECTOR.
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.
MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE IMF LAUNCHED NEGOTIATIONS FOR NEW ARRANGEMENT.
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.
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).