Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, who will head the Bulgarian delegation to the 50th session of the U.N. General Assembly, will put forward specific foreign policy initiatives for Balkan stabilization, Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova told the press today. She recalled that in his speech in Bulgarian Parliament on the setting up of the Bulgaria-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee earlier in September Prime Minister Videnov stated that at the 50th General Assembly session Bulgaria and he himself would urge strongly that Bulgaria should be compensated for the damage caused by the enforcement of international sanctions against Yugoslavia and that Bulgaria should become very actively involved in a future process of post-war stabilization and economic recovery of the region. Mrs. Bokova did not give details of Videnov's initiative but said that it would 'turn Bulgaria into a hub of Balkan stabilization, economic recovery and the smooth post-war development of the region'. Mrs. Bokova recalled that Bulgaria supports the U.S. plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Special diplomatic efforts are being made in Bulgaria to clarify item seven of the plan, concerning economic assistance and the post-war recovery and stabilization of the region, she said. Mrs. Bokova emphasized the conviction of the Bulgarian side that this country should be most actively involved in the post- war rebuilding of the region and that it should receive compensation for the damage caused by the enforcement of the international sanctions. This by no means signals a change in Bulgaria's position in favor of a parallel peaceful settlement of the conflict, accompanied by a gradual lifting of the sanctions, Mrs. Bokova also said. Bulgaria attaches great importance to the discussion of reform of the United Nations which will take place at the 50th session, Mrs. Bokova said. At the session, Bulgaria will express the view that the U.N. Security Council still plays a key role in the strengthening of peace and security, Mrs. Bokova said. The Security Council's composition and working methods should reflect global development more adequately. Bulgaria supports in principle the idea that the Security Council should have a larger number of permanent and non-permanent members and believes that big influential countries like Germany and Japan have reason to insist on becoming permanent members of the Security Council.
Mrs. Bokova set forth Bulgaria's view that the Security Council might include some of the influential developing countries and that in the case of its enlargement a fair geographic distribution would require the inclusion of the East European countries as well. During the session Prime Minister Videnov and Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski will hold a number of bilateral meetings. The Bulgarian delegation will take every opportunity to make this country's position more active and dynamic, especially on vital, sensitive issues such as the development of the Balkan situation, Mrs. Bokova said.
"In no case will Bulgaria undertake any actions violating the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council about former Yugoslavia," Foreign Ministry's Spokesman Radko Vlaikov told reporters today. At the same time he said that the article in today's "Douma", headlined "Pirinski Does Not Approve Russian's Request for Corridor" is partial and creates a wrong impression. The article quotes yesterday's statement of Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski before the parliamentary group of the ruling Democratic Left (a coalition between the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Alexander Stamboliiski Bulgarian Agrarian Union and the Eco-Glasnost Political Club). According to "Douma", Pirinski said that the request of the Russian MPs that Bulgaria unilaterally lifts the sanctions is unjustified and the way the issue has been raised is incorrect and intentional. The complication of the problem with the refugees is calling for more active participation of the international organizations involved in the granting of humanitarian aid, Vlaikov said. Bulgaria will insist before these competent international organizations to take the maximum efforts for alleviating the condition of the refugees, the Foreign Ministry's Spokesman said. At the same time he recalled Bulgaria's position for strict compliance with all resolutions of the U.N.'s Security Council, despite the losses the country has been sustaining from the Yugoembargo. "In that sense, if Bulgaria's permission is asked for transfer of humanitarian aid across its territory for the refugees in Yugolavia with the consent of the competent international authorities, the country would not refuse to give it," Vlaikov said.
"An ambassador which is distancing himself from his country's Government should resign," said Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova today asked how the Ministry will respond to yesterday's statements of Bulgaria's permanent representative in the United Nations Slavi Pashovski. Mrs. Bokova confirmed that Ambassador Pashovski is not on the Bulgarian delegation which is to take part in the 50th session of the UN's General Assembly. In an interview from New York for the Bulgarian National Radio yesterday Pashovski said that "a delegation will not succeed if it does not include the country's permanent representative to the UN." "This is a kind of a plot against the Constitution because the act obviously seeks to destroy the balance between the institutions," Pashovski also said. Irina Bokova denied comments on ambassador's harsh words against Cabinet members. Pashovski said yesterday that "people like Videnov, Pirinski, Bokova obviously do not want lawful order, one that would be different from the party- state to which they are accustomed." "The fact that Mr. Pashovski was not included in the delegation manifests the Government's attitude towards him," Bokova said today. She said that Ambassador Pashovski's failure to come to Sofia for consultations when he was asked was unprecedented.
At an extraordinary meeting today the National Assembly debated the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Zhan Videnov of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). Coming up with a sign-in, supported by 53 MPs, on September 14 the largest opposition force demanded that the Parliament discusses a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Videnov. At the request of the parliamentary majority, the debates were broadcast on the national radio and television. The UDF justified its motion with the fact that the Prime Minister did not submit the resignations of Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev and of Transport Minister Stamen Stamenov whom the opposition holds responsible for the tragic incident on August 11 in which a truck of the transport troops burned down and killed 14 conscripts. "We differentiate the political responsibility of the two ministers from the guilt of the individual persons and of those who caused the crash and we want the resignation of those who hold the political responsibility," UDF leader Ivan Kostov said. This is the first occasion in which a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister is requested since the formation of the Socialist Government on January 25. Recalling the fact that the truck was shot at, Kostov said that the tragic incident came as a result of the sharp escalation of crime in the country. The Government's inability to cope with crime is the second motive for the requested vote of no confidence. UDF leader accused the Prime Minister that no governmental commission was formed to investigate the case and that all interested state institutions failed to join efforts in the clarification of the case. "We demand the resignation of the Prime Minister because he tried to present the case as an ordinary road accident and because he politicized the tragedy in an attempt to cover the incompetence of his ministers," Ivan Kostov said. Floor leader of the BSP-led coalition Krassimir Premianov described the vote of no confidence as a political show. In his view, the opposition is trying to turn the human tragedy into pre-election canvassing. He objected the opposition's stand about the blame and said that the investigation has yet to be completed. According to Premianov, no sharp escalation of crime in the country has been observed. He also objected the statement that crime in the army is on the rise. The parliamentary groups of the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms and of the Popular Union (a coalition between the Democratic Party and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union) backed the requested vote of no confidence. The representatives of the Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB) leveled certain criticism at the Cabinet but said that the opposition's accusations are insufficient to demand the Government's resignation. Under the Bulgarian law, the motion of no confidence may be put to the vote not earlier than 24 hours after the debates. "No UDF member entertains any illusion that the motion will be passed," UDF leader Ivan Kostov said last week. In his view, the act has a moral and political value, rather than practical dimensions, which could result in a change in the government. In his concluding address Prime Minister Zhan Videnov described the motion of no confidence as "politicking which seeks pre-election dividends" and said he was sorry that the tragic incident was turned into an object of political speculations. The UDF was accused of consciously blocking the work of the National Assembly and of discrediting the principles of parliamentaranism by making a motion with no real grounds or hopes for success.
A Bulgarian military delegation led by Defense Minister Dimiter Pavlov today departed for the Czech Republic. Minister Pavlov and his Czech counterpart Vilem Holan will sign an agreement on cooperation in military matters between the two countries' defense ministries. "Being a country that actively works with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures, the Czech Republic is a good partner for Bulgaria. We have common interests in the field of the military economics, the development of the military cultural programs, as well as in the supply of weapons and spare parts," Minister Pavlov said before his departure. Minister Pavlov will be received by the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Milan Uhde, and will hold talks in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Bulgarian delegation will visit military-industrial installations and the training center of peacekeeping forces for the UN in Cesky Krumlov.
Two-day Bulgarian-German consultations ended here today. The German delegation was led by Secretary of State of the German Foreign Ministry Peter Hartman and the Bulgarian delegation - by Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Glavanakov. "We established that we share not only close but even identical views on a number of international issues as well on issues, concerning bilateral cooperation," Mr. Glavanakov said after the talks. Earlier today Mr. Hartman was received by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev. The German diplomat voiced his country's support for the efforts of the Bulgarian Government to revive the economy, to bring Bulgaria closer to the European standards and to associate it with the European Union, the Government's press center said. Mr. Hartman confirmed his country's readiness to offer support to Bulgaria in the solution of problems of domestic, regional and European character. Kiril Tsochev and Peter Hartman exchanged information and views on the Bulgarian-German relations in the context of European integration.
Alexander Schaub, Director General of the European Directorate on Competition, who is visiting Sofia, today met with senior state officials. The purpose of his visit is to help expedite the implementation of the part of Bulgaria's Europe Agreement concerning competition, according to the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria. The participants in the meetings agreed that competition is a major factor of encouraging economic development and that an effective policy of protecting competition is the cornerstone of a market economy. The implementing rules on state subsidies envisaged in the Europe Agreement will be in the focus of attention until the next session of the Association Committee scheduled for November 9-10. Other important issues are transparency in the sphere of state subsidies and monopolies and the setting up of an electronic information exchange network between the European Commission and the Commission for Protection of Competition. Schaub held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Roumen Gechev, Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov, Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova, Deputy Parliamentary Chairman Ivan Kourtev, and Stefan Neshev, Chairman of the Commission for Protection of Competition.