News from Bulgaria / July 26, 1995

From: (george kapodistrias)



JULY 26, 1995









  • [08] ENERGY




    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - "With its escalation over the past days, the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina has become particularly alarming. The conflict has entered a phase when it threatens to have destructive consequences for the region and Europe as a whole," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Radko Vlaikov said in a statement the BTA received this evening. The fall of Srebrenica and the hostilities around the other enclaves in Bosnia-Hercegovina infringe on the UN decisions, the statement goes on to say.

    "Bulgaria believes that the conflict should be solved on the basis of the peace plan proposed by the Contact Group and the initiative Jacques Chirac brought forth on behalf of the European Union in Cannes on June 27, 1995.


    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - President Zhelyu Zhelev today met with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). The meeting took place at President Zhelev's initiative. During it, the President expressed his conviction that since the CEC carried out legitimate parliamentary elections, it will likewise carry out legitimate local election, Presidential Legal Advisor Plamen Bogoev said after the meeting. Local elections are expected to be held in October. The meeting discussed issues connected with texts of the Electoral Law and technical problems of the work of the CEC; no decisions were taken, Bogoev said. The topics of discussion included the municipal electoral commissions, the journalists' freedom to express their views, the trade unions' right to participate in election campaigning as well as the CEC's premises and budget, Bogoev added. "There are various ways to correct these problems and mistakes, the passage of amendments to the Electoral Law in Parliament inclusive," Bogoev said. "Dr Zhelev has not decided whether and about which texts of the Law he will approach the Constitutional Court; he has neither set the date of the elections, " Bogoev said. The meeting did not discuss the issue whether cabinet members and senior cabinet officials will or will not remain in the CEC.


    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction and Regional Development Doncho Konakchiev today met World bank Resident Representative here Alberto Musalem. The two discussed the preparation for utilizing a US$ 98 million loan for reconstructing and upgrading the water supply and sewerage system, said the cabinet's press office. They also considered World Bank projects for financing the reform in Bulgaria's transport and telecommunications.


    Varna, July 25 (BTA Corr.) - Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Felix Gromov will pay a visit to Bulgaria in early September, First Deputy Commander- in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Igor Kassatonov said at a news conference today on board of the Perekop Russian training ship. `The ship is en route a training cruise from Novorossiisk to Kroonstad with 300 cadets of Russian naval schools. After their two-day port call in Varna, the Russian cadets will visit Messina, Italy and the French ports of Toulon and Marseilles.


    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - The Constitutional Court today approved for deliberatation two cases. One was launched after the cabinet asked the Constitutional Court (CC) to interpret a text in the Constitution saying that "Parliament shall clear the sending and use of Bulgarian armed forces outside this country". The cabinet wants it to be clarified if Parliament's permit is required in all cases when Bulgarian armed forces are to be send in overseas operations. The question is if, after an agreement to that effect has been ratified by Parliament, its implementation is possible without a formal permit, CC judge Pencho Penev said, adding that request was pragmatically-oriented. Parliament, the cabinet, the President and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, of the Interior and Defence are enlisted as parties concerned. The CC recently ruled that a constitutional provision vesting Parliament with the authority to clear the stay on or passage through Bulgarian territory of foreign military contingents, has a mandatory character. A CC panel then came out with definitions of the terms "military contingent", "intent of transit", "armament", "command" and "duration". The second case was launched at the request of Prosecutor General Ivan Tatarchev on the mandatory character of the constitutional provisions on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The request seeks to establish the place of the SJC within the judiciary and find whether it is entitled to separate budget and full-time auxiliary. The Prosecutor General further challenged the constitutionality of a provision in the National Budget Act denying the SJC the right to independent budget, and a provision in the Judiciary Act placing the administrative servicing of the SJC on the Ministry of Justice. Parties in this case are Parliament, the cabinet, the Ministers of Finance and Justice, the SJC, the Supreme Court and the National Investigative Service. Financing-related problems were on the agenda of a SJC sitting last week. The Ministry of Finance insists that the SJC budgetary accounts be handed over to the Ministry of Justice. "This seems to be a condition for the SJC to get its budget subsidies," SJC spokesman Vladislav Slavov said on that occasion.


    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - The second stage of Bulgarian banks' consolidation will get off ground in two months, when Sofiabank, Biochim and Serdika will merge, the dailies write, referring to Valentin Tsvetanov, Executive Director of the Bank Consolidation Company. The first stage was completed three years ago with the consolidation of about 70 state-owed banks into 11 ones, "Troud" recalls. The capital adequacy of the newly consolidated banking institution will be close to the Basle standards, "Douma" writes.

    By July 17 the budget deficit was 3,458,000 million leva (one US dollar exchanges for 66.212 leva), "Standart News" writes referring to the Ministry of Finance. This is 70.9 percent of the figure projected in the Budget Act, the paper says. The value added tax accounts for the largest share in budget revenues, 29,400 million leva; largest is the spending on interest payments, 65,700 million leva, "24 Chassa" writes.

    Yesterday Bulgaria paid 146.7 million US dollars on its debt to the London Club, "24 Chassa" writes referring to unnamed bankers. At the end of June 1994 the London Club forgave almost 50 percent of Bulgaria's debt, the paper recalls.

    There are 187,602 private companies registered in Bulgaria, "Pari" says citing data of the National Statistical Institute. Most of them operate in trade, 106,848. The number of private companies operating in industry or providing industrial service is increasing; at the end of 1994, they were 31,684. The business line of 17,264 companies is transport, 9,909 provide construction services.

    An agreement on the establishment of a joint venture between Intracom, a Greek telecommunication company, and the Rousse-based Production and Repair of Communications Equipment Enterprise (a subsidiary of the Bulgarian Telecomunication Company) will probably be signed within two months, "Douma" writes referring to Intracom President Socrates Kokalyas, who is visiting the Danubian city of Rousse. According to Bulgarian and Greek experts, the production of the joint venture is expected to gain a foothold in the European market. Thus the Rousse- based enterprise will enlarge its markets, in addition to its markets in Macedonia and Romania, the article says.

    "Standart News" writes that Balkan Airlines, the national carrier, has reported only 2,602 flights in January- May 1995; this is 690 flights less compared to the like period of 1994.


    Former caretaker prime minister Reneta Indjova, the Popular Union's preferred mayoral candidate for Sofia, did not turn up at yesterday's meeting with representatives of the united opposition (the opposition political forces signed an agreement to nominate a single candidate for the Sofia mayorship a month ago), the dailies write. "The opposition's single mayoral candidate will be announced tomorrow; any further delay of the discussion is a waste of time," "Demokratsiya", the daily of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), writes. The paper notes that the UDF nominee, Stefan Sofiyanski, has already presented his election programme. "The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is not in a hurry to announce its mayoral candidate for Sofia," BSP floor leader Krassimir Premyanov told "Troud". According to unidentified BSP functionaries, one of the possible candidates is Stefan Staykov, an architect and chairman of the Committee of Construction and Architecture in Andrei Loukanov's cabinet. Staykov denied to have had talks with any political force to this effect. He is cited as saying that his involvement in the country's government before the collapse of totalitarianism in 1989 does not give him the moral right to head state or local self-government bodies. Today President Zhelyu Zhelev summons the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to decide who will replace the two CEC members of the BSP quota, Mladen Chervenyakov, now Minister of Justice, and Valentin Korkinov, Council of Ministers Chief Secretary, "Novinar" reports. Under the Bulgarian law, Chervenyakov and Korkinov cannot be members of the Cabinet and of the CEC at the same time, "24 Chassa" says. The Head of State will probably set the date for elections today, "Standart News" writes. The admission of three candidates to the second ballot, as provided for in the recently adopted Local Elections Act, is ridiculous; obviously the BSP (thanks to the parliamentary majority of which the Act was passed) believes that failing to nominate single mayoral candidates, the opposition will split and fail in the local elections, CEC member Dimiter Topliiski says in an interview for "Continent". Topliiski also criticizes another provision in the Act, according to which servicemen can vote only in the place of their permanent residence. The BSP has not overcome the syndrome of being the ruling power and has not shaken off its self- complacency; if the party continues to ignore the factors that work against it, it will not win a landslide victory and may suffer the bitterness of defeat in some places, the author of a comprehensive commentary in "Standart News" warns.

    [08] ENERGY

    The papers quote Dyanko Dobrev, Director General of the National Electricity Company (NEK), who told a news conference yesterday that there would be no electricity rationing. "NEK and the Energy Committee have not authorized Council of Ministers advisor Ivan Angelov to speak for them and he should not have threatened people with electricity cuts," Dyanko Dobrev and Konstantin Roussinov, acting chairman of the Energy Committee, said commenting on Angelov's statement on national television on July 20. "Electricity consumption increased by 12.39 percent in January-June 1995 compared to the like period of last year," "Continent" writes referring to Dobrev. The most reasonable strategy for the development of the energy sector is to construct a modern and safe nuclear power plant at the Danubian town of Belene (Northern Bulgaria), Roussinov is cited as saying by "24 Chassa". "Though reassured, We Don't Know If There'll be Power Cuts in Winter" "Zemedelsko Zname" observes in a headline. "It would be better if the Cabinet improves the living standards of its electorate rather than opposing the rise in electricity prices," a signed commentary in "Pari" says. According to the Prime Minister's advisors, an energy crisis before the high-heating season may topple even the most stable cabinet, "Standart News" writes. "A handful of people make use of the energy sector to dictate their own conditions," a commentary on the same issue in "Zemya" says.


    "Yugominister Scraps Western Outlands", reads a headline in "Troud" covering the visit Mrs Margit Savovic, FRY's Minister without Portfolio in Charge of Civil Liberties and Minority Rights, who arrived here Sunday. "The designation Western Outlands is unacceptable because Yugoslavia regards this as interference in its internal affairs," Mrs Savovic is cited as saying in Parliament yesterday by the press. "Western Outlands" is the name used to refer to a territory now in Southeastern Serbia which Bulgaria, defeated in World War I, lost to Serbia under the 1919 Treaty of Neuilly. "Savovic Orders that Phrase 'Western Outlands' Be Not Used", "Demokratsiya" says in a headline on the same topic. Margit Savovic, who is a member of the leadership of the Serbia's communist party praised her Bulgarian comrades about the consistent position of the communist Government on the conflict in Yugoslavia," it is noted in a report on the visit published in "Zemedelsko Zname". "The way in which the Bulgarian diplomacy let itself be fooled with promises and accepted an official visit by the human rights minister of a country that all the world points an accusing finger at for its numerous violations of human rights is humiliating," says a signed commentary in "Continent" headlined "Arrogant Approach". "It is alarming that only the opposition resisted Mrs Savovic's moralizing efforts," the author of the commentary observes, commenting on a statement by ex-prime minister and ex-UDF leader Filip Dimitrov, who said that the Yugoslav minister's visit was an insult to the Bulgarian State.

    "Indonesia Ready to Invest in Bulgaria" is the headline of the "Douma" interview with Indonesian Ambassador in Sofia Ktut Pageh Nurdhana. Indonesia's businessmen do not want only to sell their goods but are willing to buy Bulgarian products, machinery, equipment and metals which are known for their good quality, the Ambassador says. Indonesia is Bulgaria's friend in Southeast Asia, it is ready to cooperate with it and provide assistance in the period of transition.

    Five officers and sergeants of the Interior Ministry will be dismissed because they sold information about the plans and distribution of the law-enforcement forces, the press writes citing a statement Colonel Ivan Kovachev, Director of the Sofia Directorate of the Interior, made at a news conference yesterday. "While the police can hardly make both ends meet with the pay it is tossed by the political elite, the underground world will continue to buy law men by the kilo," a commentary in "Troud" notes.

    According to the newly adopted Central Service for Organized crime Control Act, the Central Service will report only to the Interior Minister, who is closely connected by the political force in power, thus turning into a new and more sophisticated political police, Evgenii Ekov, UDF MP and member of the parliamentary National Security Committee, says in an interview for "Demokratsiya".

    The Atlantic Club in Bulgaria extended an official invitation to US Vice President Al Gore to visit Bulgaria. The invitation was handed by Solomon Passi, President of the Atlantic Club, to US Ambassador in Sofia William Montgomery.

    According to National Assembly Deputy Chairperson Nora Ananieva, the watershed time has given rise to "a new wave" in the BSP. However, the young people who asserted a new style in the party leadership, should turn to the more experienced "back-benchers" sometimes, she says in an interview for "Troud".

    The second round of negotiations on the Bulgarian- Russian gas company Topenergy (which has prompted numerous press commentaries of late) will open in August when Russia's Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev will come on an unofficial visit to Bulgaria; his official visit is scheduled for September, "Standart News says referring to unidentified well informed sources. According to a highly placed government official whose name is not specified, Bulgaria's position at the negotiations will depend on the outcome of the talks with Kozyrev on the project for an oil pipeline from Bourgas (on the Black Sea) to the Greek town of Alexandroupolis (on the Aegean Sea).

    All Russian ports will boycott Bulgarian ships, "Demokratsiya" writes referring to a fax by the Russian Seamen Trade Union circulated yesterday. The boycott will be declared in support of Bulgarian seamen who have not got any pay for three years now, says the author of the piece which is headlined "[Prime Minister] Videnov Has Got Himself to Blame for International Boycott".

    The Armed Forces Prosecutor's Office initiated investigative proceedings against the culprits for the contract between the Defence Ministry and Super Security Service, a private company, ex-defence minister Valentin Alexandrov signed in 1994, "24 Chassa" says citing what is described as a well informed source. The company was to develop a new paging system for the army, getting access to army radio frequencies in return, the paper recalls.

    "Turks Want to Tour Bulgaria For a Song; Carriers Stage Blockade, Ruin Bulgaria's Economy with chicanery", reads the headline of an article in "24 Chassa", dwelling on Turkish carriers protests against the introduction of higher road tolls and the criminal acts committed by some of them.

    Kunsler Agentur, a company based in Munich, tricked more than 1,000 Bulgarian women into prostitution in Germany in 1994, "Continent" writes referring to unidentified sources in the Bavarian police.

    Bulgaria and Russia will update jointly GRAD multiple launch rocket systems, the correspondent of "Continent" in Moscow says in a despatch citing Nikolai Makarovets, Director general of the Splav Research and Industry State Enterprise in Tula.


    Sofia, July 25 (BTA) - Grain harvesting in Bulgaria may be completed within ten days, weather permitting, the Head of the Plant Growing Department of the Agriculture Ministry, Ognyan Serachinov, told a briefing today. Ninety- three per cent of barley and 48% of wheat have been harvested so far. Some 6,000 combine harvesters reap 500 to 600 ha daily. The lowest yields of less than three tonnes per hectare are reported in the Montana region. At 4 t/ha yields are highest in the Rousse and Varna regions, Serachinov said.

    The opposition is expected to negotiate on Wednesday over the nomination of a single candidate for Sofia mayor, it emerged at a news conference today following a meeting of the National Executive Board of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). The UDF, which nominated Stefan Sofiyanski, and the Popular Union, which put up former prime minister Reneta Indjova as a candidate, have not reached agreement on a single candidacy yet.

    The Popular Union issued a statement today saying that Agrarian and Democratic leaders in Sofia consider further talks on a single mayoral candidate useless. "The UDF is setting new conditions all the time," the statement says. Speaking to the press, Popular Union leaders said they would not withdraw Indjova's nomination and she would not attend the talks tomorrow. The Popular Union insists on top level talks. Commenting on the statement, UDF Deputy Chairman Peter Stoyanov said the talks would not be postponed. There still are prospects for an agreement, he said.

    It was agreed yesterday that the opposition will nominate a single mayoral candidate in Sofia. If no agreement is reached on Wednesday, the UDF will propose that the opposition organizations elect a single candidate, which is unacceptable to the Popular Union.

    On Thursday the UDF governing body, the National Coordinating Council, will hold an extraordinary meeting to nominate candidates for regional mayors and councillors.

    The Popular Union still insists on holding talks on single candidates for regional mayors with the leaders of UDF organizations in Sofia.

    Mrs Margit Savovic, minister without portfolio in the cabinet of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who arrived here on Sunday, today visited the Black Sea city of Bourgas and the village of Ravda, where Bulgarian families of the Western Outlands have spent their summer holidays for two years running. The Western Outlands are a territory in south-eastern Serbia which Bulgaria lost under the 1919 Treaty of Neuilly. Mrs Savovic also visited Sunny Beach and the town of Nessebur.

    During its first six months Parliament passed 84 laws and took 102 decisions, Socialist floor leader Krassimir Premyanov told a news conference today. He said the speedy passage of laws had been necessitated by the delay in reforms in the past few years, but this had had an impact on the quality of legislation. Ninety-eight MPs of the Democratic Left, the BSP-led coalition, sponsored bills during that period. Premyanov has prepared a 100-page report on the performance of the Socialist MPs during this session. The report will be presented at a national conference of the Socialist Party later this week, the first after it came to power in December.

    A cabinet "overhaul" has never been considered at the BSP headquarters, the Socialist Party's Deputy Chairman Georgi Purvanov told a news conference today, commenting on recent press reports on a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle and on criticism reportedly levelled at the cabinet at a Supreme Council plenum on July 23. According to him, it seems logical not to discuss this issue until the local elections.

    The press has a right to air its views and speculations on different matters, Purvanov said, adding that the story in "24 Chassa" should not cause a sensation. The daily wrote yesterday that Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev might be relieved of his duties. "I don't see any reason to consider Kiril Tsochev the cabinet's 'weak minister' because he has been very professional so far," Purvanov also said.

    Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has invited Roumen Popov, leader of the Bulgaria Association, to attend the second session of the July 28-29 congress of the Serb Democratic Party in Pale, the Association Deputy Chairman Gincho Pavlov said today.

    The Committee on Youth and Children today marked its 100th day. It helped Bulgarian representatives take part in the European Youth Solidarity Week in Strasbourg from July 10 to 17 and in the campaign against racism, intolerance and xenophobia. The Committee is preparing an international meeting on social services to young people. The Bulgarian Committee will sign a cooperation protocol with the Russian Committee on Youth in Moscow on July 26.

    Bulgaria's European integration strategy will be mapped out by September, Irina Bokova, Secretary of the Government Committee on European Integration and Chair of the Coordinating Commission for European Integration, said today. The strategy will be set forth at the constituent assembly of the Bulgaria-EU Association Committee in Brussels. Until then the Government Committee on European Integration will consider applying for full membership in the EU. According to Mrs Bokova, an application will be filed before the 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference.

    Up to 20 per cent of the proceeds from privatization should be allocated to the Future Fund to meet the needs of children, who are 20 per cent of Bulgarians, and guarantee an equitable distribution of the national capital, the Fund's Secretary Dimiter Chenishev told BTA today.

    It would not be fair to deprive of 50,000 leva someone who turns 18 the day after the closing day for distribution of privatization vouchers as one might invest them in their education or start a business, Chenishev said.

    Entitlement to 68.1 per cent of the land has been restored, Dimiter Dinkov, Head of the Land and Land Ownership Department with the Agriculture Ministry, said today. Ownership of 3.7 million ha in 22,487 land plots has been restored. The rightful owners of 2.4 million ha, 44.6 per cent of the land due for restitution, have entered into possession, while the rest have had their title to the land recognized.

    The US Government will donate eight ambulances, trucks, coaches and mini-buses to several Bulgarian hospitals and child-care establishments, the US Embassy in Sofia said today. The vehicles worth 165,900 dollars have been overhauled. They became available as a result of the closure of US military bases in Germany. The donation is part of a US Defense Department programme for humanitarian aid to Eastern Europe and other countries. The US Government will defray the transportation costs, the Embassy also said.

    The Austrian Red Cross Society also donated 66 outfits worth 250,000 Austrian schillings to the Bulgarian Mountain Rescue Service, while the youth section recently granted 10,000 dollars to its Bulgarian counterpart.

    The Dutch Red Cross Society donated 400,000 dollars' worth of aid to the Bulgarian Red Cross Society.

    Economic ties with Bulgaria are of great importance to Belarus, the Ambassador of Belarus, Aleksandr Gerasimenko, told a news conference here today. "We would like to import Bulgarian electronics, medicines, wine and other products," Ambassador Gerasimenko said.

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