LIBYA-BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS GADDAFI.
Muammar Gaddafi Receives Foreign Minister Solomon Passy.
Tripoli, May 5 (BTA special correspondent Zoya Hristova) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is following the trial of the six Bulgarian medical workers charged with intentionally infecting Libyan children with HIV and breaking the conventions of life in Libya. He is familiar with the trial in detail and believes it is heading in the right direction, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said. He was received by the Libyan leader Sunday noon. Gaddafi welcomed him very warmly and hugged him. The meeting, which lasted about 40 minutes, took place in Gaddafi's tent near his native town of Sirte, where he receives important guests.
Talking about the trial of the Bulgarian medical workers, Gaddafi described the Libyan court's actions as adequate and its decisions as correct. At its latest sitting on February 17, the court quashed the charge of plotting against the Libyan State and transferred the case to an ordinary prosecution office.
The conversation centred on the trial of nurses Kristiana Vulcheva, Nassya Nenova, Valentina Siropoulo, Valya Chervenyashka and Snezhana Dimitrova and Dr Zdravko Georgiev, charged with intentionally infecting 393 Libyan children with HIV.
Gaddafi said it was a good thing that Passy visited on Saturday the infectious diseases hospital in Benghazi, where some of the children infected with AIDS are treated.
Each side should look at the other side's tragedy, the Bulgarian foreign minister said. Just as the September 11 tragedy brought East and West closer together, and earthquakes did this for Greece and Turkey, so can the tragedy of 413 families in Benghazi on the one hand, and of the six Bulgarian medical workers on the other hand, bring out the good qualities of both sides, Passy said.
Gaddafi said Bulgaria's reputation in Libya should be restored.
Passy underlined the great contribution of the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charitable Associations and its leader Saif al-Islam to the favourable turn in the trial. On the whole, the Foundation has done much in the way of clarifying the circumstances of the infection, Gaddafi said.
The two discussed the UN's future and the reform of its Security Council.
Passy said the UN structure reflected the world after World War II: the world has changed, but the UN has not.
Gaddafi asked when Bulgaria would join NATO and how the North Atlantic Alliance would enlarge. Passy talked about its new mission.
The situation in the Middle East was also on the agenda.
Just as the military alliance between France and Germany ended their hostility, so can a strong alliance between Israel and Palestine defend their common interests and their security, Passy said. Peace will come only after Israel and the Palestinians start defending each other, instead of each side defending itself against the other, according to him.
The possibility to resume flights between Sofia and Tripoli was also discussed.
Bulgaria's Hemus Air is interested in it.
The meeting was attended by Libyan Foreign Minister Abd al-Rahman Shalgam and Bulgarian Ambassador Lyudmil Spassov and Petko Dimitrov, head of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East and Africa Directorate.
This is the second time in four months that the Libyan leader has received the Bulgarian foreign minister. They first met on December 22 during Passy's working visit to Tripoli.
Returning from Sirte, Passy talked for about an hour with the Minister of Justice and Public Security Mohamed Ali Al-Masirati. He formerly headed the People's Prosecution Bureau which brought charges against the six Bulgarians.
President Georgi Purvanov Promotes Five Officers on the Eve of Bulgarian Army Day.
Sofia, May 5 (BTA) - President Georgi Purvanov, who is also Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, promoted five officers on the eve of May 6, celebrated as the Day of Valour and the Day of the Bulgarian Army.
Colonel Yordan Yordanov, commander of the 61st mechanized brigade, was promoted brigadier general. Colonel Dinko Ivanov, commander of the 24th helicopter air base, was promoted brigadier general. Major General Kiril Tsvetkov, Chief of the Land Forces Staff, was promoted lieutenant general.
Captain Plamen Manoushev, commander of the Varna naval base, was promoted brigadier admiral. Colonel Alexander Alexandrov, Bulgaria's second cosmonaut, a reserve officer, was promoted brigadier general.
Purvanov congratulated the officers on their promotion, adding that recognition brought on new responsibilities. "Along with the other Bulgarian military commanders, generals and admirals, you must shoulder the burden of accelerated military reform, the creation of maximum prerequisites for a modernized, fighting-fit, strong Bulgarian army, which will be able to perform its constitutional tasks in protecting national security," Purvanov said. He is confident that the Bulgarian servicemen will manage to show their future and potential NATO partners that the Bulgarian armed forces can do just as well as the armed forces of bigger nations.
Later on Purvanov and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha reviewed the representative Bulgarian Army units which are to take part in the May 6 parade marking the Day of Valour and the Day of the Bulgarian Army.
BULGARIA-US-SPECIAL SERVICES COOPERATION.
Interior Ministry's Boiko Borissov: US Government Agencies Give Bulgarian Special Services High Marks, Will Help Bulgaria Join NATO.
Sofia, May 5 (BTA) - The US federal government agencies give very high marks to the Bulgarian special services and will help Bulgaria in every possible way to join NATO, Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Boiko Borissov said on his return from New York and Washington on Sunday. He was there at the invitation of the US federal government agencies.
The US will help Bulgaria very much to become a NATO member, but Bulgaria must do its job.
At the New York centre on bomb terrorism, Borissov discussed international terrorism, the FBI's work in the Balkans and Eastern Europe and the possible setting up of an FBI bureau in Bulgaria, similar to the one in Athens. "We agreed that they would have an agent based in Bulgaria so we could always be in touch," Borissov said.
The Bulgarian delegation went to the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In Washington, the delegation held a meeting at the Secret Service where the sides talked about a recently eliminated printer's office near Varna, which forged banknotes and had been under surveillance by the Americans since 1995. "I had been left with the impression that we eliminated it at the very start," Borissov said. That printing office made Bulgaria the world's second biggest source of counterfeit banknotes, which were also of the best quality in the world.
The US Secret Service protects the US President and other persons, but is also under the umbrella of the Treasury Department since it deals with currency issues, Borissov said.
The Pope visited the US in 1996, that is why Borissov was briefed on the security precautions taken at the time. They are identical with those Bulgaria is taking in the run-up to the Pope's May 23-26 visit, according to Borissov.
General Dimiter Vladimirov, chief of the National Bodyguard Service, will bear the brunt of the security measures as only six security people will come from Italy. Physical protection will be provided by the National Bodyguard Service, while the Interior Ministry will be responsible for checking the routes and the venues and all the rest, Borissov said.
The Bulgarian delegation held a meeting at the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which operates worldwide. It highly appreciated Bulgaria's efforts to combat drug trafficking.
"Bulgaria has the highest approval rating in the fight against illicit drugs now," Borissov said.
Gorbachev Met at Sofia Airport by Fans Carrying Slogan "Thank You for Change/Chance"
Sofia, May 5 (BTA) - Fans met ex-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev at Sofia Airport with a slogan reading "Thank you for the change/chance". "I believe Bulgaria stands a great chance of renewal," he said. "I'm talking as Gorbachev, not as a representative of the Russian government," he said on his arrival on Sunday.
Asked about his views on the NATO membership bids of the East European countries in general and Bulgaria in particular, Gorbachev said this was a complicated process. "If the process is accompanied by the creation of new dividing lines and misunderstanding, if some are admitted and others are not, if there is an attempt at confrontation, nothing good will come out of it."
"I think that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a newcomer to big politics.
He went through many trials but came out strong. I must say that Putin has done more than I expected," Gorbachev said.
Gorbachev is optimistic about the future of Bulgarian-Russian relations.
"Everything has normalized and relations will be what they should be: friendly and fraternal."
Gorbachev arrived at the invitation of Euro-Left leader Alexander Tomov. His third visit here ends on May 8.