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News from Bulgaria / Oct 6, 95

From: bulgaria@access1.digex.net (Embassy of Bulgaria)

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory

EMBASSY OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.

BTA BULLETIN

Oct. 6, 95


CONTENTS

  • [01] PARLIAMENT URGES EU TO DROP BULGARIA FROM BLACKLIST

  • [02] PARLIAMENT ADOPTS CONCESSIONS

  • [03] GOVERNMENT DECISIONS

  • [04] CABINET APPROVES PHARE INDICATIVE PROGRAMME

  • [05] P.M. VIDENOV RECEIVES U.S. AMBASSADOR

  • [06] BULGARIA NOT INVOLVED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AGAINST GLIGOROV

  • [07] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER GECHEV'S VISIT TO GERMANY

  • [08] SACHSEN-ANHALT MINISTER PRESIDENT IN SOFIA

  • [09] BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER, CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WORLD BANK AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

  • [10] BUSINESS PRESS

  • [11] FULL ARMS TRADE LICENCE GRANTED TO TWO COMPANIES ONLY


  • [01] PARLIAMENT URGES EU TO DROP BULGARIA FROM BLACKLIST

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Parliament urged a review of a September 25 decision of the ministers of justice and the interior of the European Union member countries, and dropping Bulgaria from a list of nations whose citizens need visas to cross the Union's internal borders.

    One-hundred and ninety-eight of 200 MPs of all five factions, taking part in the vote, this afternoon backed a parliamentary declaration, recalling Bulgaria is an associate member of the EU. Two opposition MPs abstained.

    During the debates, opposition MPs called Bulgaria's inclusion on the list "a resounding slap in the face" of the Socialist government, and "a good pull of the ear". MPs of the Socialist majority, the Bulgarian Business Bloc and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms of ethnic Turks urged colleagues not to "politicize" the issue.

    Bulgaria coordinates its visa policies with the countries of the EU, and its citizens should be treated on a par with citizens from other associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the declaration says. It also says the decision of the ministers runs counter to the principle of free movement of people, and a wish expressed in Bulgaria's Europe Agreement to improve contacts between the citizens of Bulgaria and the EU, in the spirit of cooperation among Bulgaria, the EU and the Governments of its member countries. The MPs from all parliamentary parties are alarmed by visa distinctions among nations with an equal status, which have disappointed the Bulgarian public, the declaration reads. Parliament protests this decision, which is "a new sign of a discriminatory attitude toward Bulgaria in the area of visas". The declaration goes on to say Bulgaria will press ahead with its policy of integration into the European Union, which is based on a consensus among the major political forces. The declaration was adopted after a heated debate, triggered by the biggest opposition force, the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). The UDF MPs stressed they support the declaration. UDF MP Filip Dimitrov, prime minister during the initialling of the agreement for Bulgaria's association with the EU in 1992, described Bulgaria's inclusion in the list as "a resounding slap in the face" for this country and the Government of Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov. Such punitive measures would be a boost to Bulgaria's Eurosceptics, Dimitrov said. He said the UDF opposition would like to show that it knows "why the blow was dealt".

    With these statements, the UDF reaffirmed that, to hit the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), it is ready to close Bulgaria's door to Europe, BSP MP Filip Bokov said. He stressed the Government of the BSP and its coalition partners, an Agrarian and an environmental formation, "has been recognized in Europe as democratic", and "Bulgaria will join the EC led by this Government". "We will not accept dual standards and the lack of respect for our associate status", Ivan Genov of the BSP said after the vote. He again blamed the UDF for harming Bulgaria's image, stressing not Bulgaria, but the UDF, is in isolation.

    "The UDF will work not only for Bulgaria's removal from the list, but also for its full integration into European structures and full membership in the EU; not only for participation in the Partnership for Peace Programme, but also for membership in NATO," UDF floor leader Yordan Sokolov said after the vote.

    Gyuner Tahir of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms urged the ratification of a framework convention protecting the rights of minorities, which he said would bring Bulgaria even closer to Europe.

    [02] PARLIAMENT ADOPTS CONCESSIONS

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - After almost four years of debate, Parliament today adopted the Concessions Act.

    Concessions for units or activities, which are state monopoly, shall be granted to Bulgarian or foreign natural or juristic persons on a competitive basis by the Government, with a Parliament permission, for 35 years (which may be extended to 50). Under the final draft, concessions can be granted for subsoil mineral resources; the beach strip; mineral and energy resources in the continental shelf; radio frequencies; roads; civilian ports and airports; waters of national importance, including mineral springs; power plants with a capacity over 50 MW; power lines; main pipelines; forests; nature and archaeological reserves.

    Concessions shall be granted for a term of 35 years. The term may be extended to 50 years on mutual agreement of the parties, the state and the concessionaire. Concessions shall not be granted if that poses a danger to Bulgaria's national security and defence, to the environment, to territories and units protected by law, or to public order. The right to grant concessions belongs to the Government. Prior to doing so, it shall state to Parliament its reasons replete with an economic, financial, social and environmental study. Having received Parliament's permission, the Government shall hold a competition or an auction for the subject of a concession, or the permit to carry out an activity. This shall be done even in case of a single bidder. Concessions are granted to Bulgarian and foreign natural or juristic persons. Juristic persons shall present financial statements for the last three years and a document for registration.

    The Concessions Act specifies the obligatory clauses of a concession agreement, and the terms of its implementation. Much debated was the issue of whether succession is possible in case of death of a natural person, or termination of a juristic person. Concessions cannot be inherited, the MPs decided.

    [03] GOVERNMENT DECISIONS

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - At a regular meeting today the Council of Ministers heard reports by Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski on Bulgarian-Yugoslav relations now and after the end of the Yugslav crisis, and on Bulgarian-Croatian relations. The Minister of Economic Development Roumen Gechev was appointed Bulgarian co-leader of the Bulgarian-Croatian intergovernmental commission for economic, industrial, trade and technical development. The Bulgarian delegation has so far been led by a deputy minister. The cabinet discussed issues of political cooperation, notably exchange of delegations of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Also scheduled are trade and economic, humanitarian and other events, in accordance with international restrictions, the Government's Spokesman Nikolay Baltov announced.

    The Government approved a draft treaty for friendship and cooperation between Bulgaria and South Africa.

    The Government approved an accord between the Governments of Bulgaria and Belarus on international road transport, signed in Sofia on October 19, 1993.

    The Cabinet approved draft agreements with the Governments of Romania and Yugoslavia to study hail processes and protect crops in border areas. The drafts will form the basis of negotiations to be carried out by the Minister of Agriculture and Food-Processing Vassil Chichibaba.

    Dr Valentin Bossevski was elected Chairman of the Governing Board of the National Environmental Trust. The institution, set under an agreement between Bulgaria and Switzerland, will manage 20.2 million Swiss franks. The candidacy was approved by the Swiss side.

    Foreign Ministry Chief Secretary Volodya Neikov was authorized to sign an accord with Ukraine on the reciprocal allotment of real property to the embassies and consular offices of the two countries. The accord would give Bulgaria a 50- year cost-free lease of buildings in Kiev and Odessa, and Ukraine a lease of buildings in Sofia.

    The Government elected the Bulgarian delegation for the forthcoming 28th session of the UNESCO General Assembly in Paris from October 25 to November 16. The delegation will be led by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ilcho Dimitrov.

    The Government allocated 2 million leva in aid for the victims of the earthquake in Dinar, Turkey.

    The Government today adopted implementation regulations of the Prices Act. The regulations deal with the pricing of exports and price controls for goods on the domestic market subject to government regulation. According to a list appended to the regulations, new price ceilings are set for 34 groups of commodities, the Government's Spokesman Nikolay Baltov said after the meeting. The list includes staple foods, passenger transport, central heating, etc.

    [04] CABINET APPROVES PHARE INDICATIVE PROGRAMME

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - The cabinet today approved a project of the Programme for Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Bulgaria (PHARE indicative programme) in 1995, under which this country will receive 60 million Ecu in financial aid. The cabinet authorized Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev to sign the document and the financial memoranda accompanying it from the Bulgarian side.

    The project envisages technical assistance in four major areas: 2 million Ecu will be allocated in technical aid for the approximation of this country's legislation to that of the EU; another 5 million Ecu are earmarked for the growth of the private sector. Under the project, PHARE will resume providing technical aid for the Bulgarian agriculture through assistance in the land reform, agriculture loans and growth of the agriculture produce market.

    Thirty-two million Ecu will be spent for the third priority area, infrastructure. The money will be used for projects in conventional power generation, improving of the nuclear safety and investments in the transport infrastructure. A total of 21 million Ecu are earmarked for human development, the bulk of which will be spent for the Bulgarian science and education.

    [05] P.M. VIDENOV RECEIVES U.S. AMBASSADOR

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov today received Sofia-based US Ambassador William Montgomery. The meeting was prompted by Ambassador Montgomery's upcoming departure for the US for consultations with the government. Videnov stressed Bulgaria's desire to join New Forum (neo-COCOM) that will be set up. Cabinet Spokesman Nikola Baltov quoted the Prime Minister as saying Bulgaria would like to participate actively in the preparation of this organization as it has the legal groundwork necessary for that. Ambassador Montgomery reportedly said Zhan Videnov's trip to the US and the meetings he had there with US statesmen were evaluated in highly positive terms. According to him, the results of the visit will promote bilateral relations. The sides further discussed the situation in Macedonia. They voiced regret over the condition of President Kiro Gligorov, and hope for his quick recovery, journalists learned after the meeting from Ambassador Montgomery. The meeting also considered Zhan Videnov's idea for a mini-Marshall Plan to include Bulgaria. According to William Montgomery, the plan for the postwar recovery of the Balkans is at a very early stage. He said initiatives are coming from the European Union member states, from the US and Japan but nothing is complete yet. The project to that end, however, is sure to envisage better communication between the countries of the region, and Bulgaria will have its place here, the US Ambassador also said.

    [06] BULGARIA NOT INVOLVED IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AGAINST GLIGOROV

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - A closed-door sitting of the cabinet attended by the National Intelligence Service Director Brigo Asparouhov today discussed the situation after the assassination attempt against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. Bulgarian Interior Minister Lyubomir Nachev said after the sitting that the condition of the Macedonian President is aggravating. According to him, with the reports from the past few hours, the worst can be expected. Interior Minister Nachev dismissed allegations in the foreign press about Bulgarian involvement in the assault. "The four suspects are Macedonians," he said citing information released at today's cabinet sitting. Involving Bulgaria in this professionally-executed political assassination attempt is an insinuation seeking to mar this country's image, according to Nachev. The Bulgarian- Macedonian border is now open but there is stiff control on those passing it, the Interior Minister also said. He said he talked with his Macedonian counterpart and the chief of the Macedonian security service half an hour after the assault, and described the measures taken by the competent Bulgarian authorities as adequate under the complex circumstances.

    Later today the Spokesman of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said: "In connection with journalists' hypothesis about 'Bulgarian connection' in the assassination attempt against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, I want to say that allegations to that effect are absolutely groundless and constitute an obvious provocation. "There are several well-known facts. Bulgaria was the first to recognize the independence of Macedonia; with its efforts Bulgaria contributed much for Macedonia's international recognition; in a difficult moment Bulgaria helped Macedonia overcome the economic blockade and isolation; on a number of occasions and at different levels Bulgaria voiced its will for promoting bilateral cooperation in various spheres. And last but not least, Bulgaria is one of the countries that are least interested in tension in Macedonia and the region. "Bulgaria's constructive policy contributing for establishing peace in the Balkans is well-known, and it brought her the recognition of the international community as a stabilizing factor in the region."

    [07] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER GECHEV'S VISIT TO GERMANY

    Bonn, October 5 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Roumen Gechev opened a Day of Bulgaria held under the motto: "Bulgaria: Economic Partner of Germany" in Duesseldorf today, Bulgarian Embassy in Bonn said. The event was organized by the Rhine Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The opening ceremony was attended by Mr Badeker, state secretary at the ministry of culture, sports and urban development of the German state of North Rhine- Westphalia, representatives of more than 60 companies and banks, including Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Commerz Bank, Friedrich Krupp and others. Gechev familiarized the German businessmen with the basic parameters of Bulgaria's economic development in the last few years, the conditions for attracting foreign investments and the plans of the Bulgarian Government to this effect, as well as with the problems of privatization. Later today Minister Gechev met with Wolfgang Clement, Minister of Economy, Technologies and Transport of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The prospects to expand the relations between Bulgaria and this German state were on the agenda. Tomorrow Roumen Gechev will take part in the presentation of Bulgaria in Hamburg.

    [08] SACHSEN-ANHALT MINISTER PRESIDENT IN SOFIA

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - Bilateral relations, economic cooperation and the difficulties facing Bulgaria after its inclusion in the European Union visa blacklist, were high on the agenda of today's talks of the Minister President of Sachsen-Anhalt, Reinhard Hoppner. Dr. Hoppner arrived on an official visit here last night. Today the guest met in turn Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev, National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov, Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev and Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski. At his first working meeting today Dr. Hoppner discussed with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev possibilities for promoting bilateral relations, expanding the commercial exchange and direct contacts between companies of the two countries. Kiril Tsochev said after the meeting that Bulgaria is seeking to attract fresh German investments even though Germany now is the major investor here with a 49% share of foreign investments in this country. Tsochev also said the Sachsen-Anhalt state was placed in charge of coordinating Bulgarian-German relations, and its Minister President will chair the council of Minister Presidents of the 16 German states. Deputy Prime Minister Tsochev further briefed the guest on the progress of privatization in Bulgaria. The meeting also considered an initiative for trilateral cooperation between Sachsen-Anhalt, the Plovdiv district and Aragon of Spain, and discussed the possibility for the Bulgarian government to help the work of the Centre for German-Bulgarian Contacts set up by this German state in Plovdiv. This issue was later discussed at Dr. Hoppner's meeting with President Zhelev. The guest informed the Bulgarian Head of State of the commitments he has made for the implementation of the project. Plans were announced for opening a similar Bulgarian centre in Magdeburg. The sides further discussed bilateral relations, the progress of reforms in Bulgaria and eastern German states, the importance that Bulgaria attaches to its entry into the European organizations, Euro-Atlantic structures and NATO. All meetings touched upon the negative consequences from Bulgaria's inclusion in the European Union visa blacklist. In his talks with Bulgarian statesmen, Dr. Hoppner pledged to help solve this problem as much as this is within his capacity. "We should not be placing such stumbling blocks on Bulgaria's way to Europe, but keep instead the doors wide open," Presidential Adviser Kamen Velichkov quoted Dr. Hoppner as telling the Bulgarian President. Tomorrow the Sachsen-Anhalt Minister President will meet Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and hold a closing meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev.

    [09] BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER, CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WORLD BANK AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - Bulgarian Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov and central bank Governor Todor Vulchev today left for Washington for the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They are accompanied by Deputy Finance Minister Svetoslav Gavriiski, central bank Under Governor Mileti Mladenov and a team of experts. The Bulgarian delegation will participate in the two most important plenary sittings, and before the opening of the meeting it will state its stand before the leadership of the so called "Dutch Group" where Bulgaria is member, Prof. Todor Vulchev said before his departure today. Finance Minister Kostov will deliver a report on the intentions of the Bulgarian government. The major thing for the future of Bulgaria's relations with the IMF and the World Bank will be the bilateral meetings with representatives of the two institutions, said Todor Vulchev. The preliminary schedule for the annual meeting envisages that the Bulgarian delegation meet IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, IMF European Department Directors Massimo Russo and Michael Depler, and Christian Portman who now chairs the World Bank. A preliminary meeting with IMF Mission Leader for Bulgaria Russel Kincaid will review a programme for rehabilitation of the banking system, speeding up privatization and stiffening financial discipline. The assessment of the measures envisages in the three directions will be followed by concrete negotiations for a new stand-by loan, and a FESAL agreement with the World Bank. The IMF and the World Bank insist that Bulgaria suspend subsidies to state-run loss-makers and set up a hospital bank for doubtful debts of troubled state- owned banks. Analysts say new credits from the two financial institutions are likely early next year at the earliest, as successful talks in Washington will be followed by at least one visit by each of the IMF and World Bank missions in Sofia by year's end.

    [10] BUSINESS PRESS

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - Today's papers cite Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev who said that meeting this Tuesday, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Avdeyev had agreed on taking specific steps for the construction of the Bourgas-Alexandrupolis oil pipeline project. Arrangements are expected to be made for a meeting in October on the preparation and possible signing of a trilateral agreement by Russia, Bulgaria and Greece in November. Sofia will host the talks, and the agreement will probably be signed during the 4th session of the Bulgarian-Russian intergovernmental commission for economic, scientific and technological cooperation which is to be held in Moscow from November 14 through 17, Tsochev said. The press cites Tsochev as saying that the approval of a parallel oil pipeline via Turkey will not hinder the construction of the pipeline via Bulgaria.

    The National Bank of Bulgaria (BNB) is considering an increase in the minimum capital of commercial banks, BNB Vice Governor Lyubomir Filipov told "Standart News". The decision on the increase is expected to be made shortly. Commercial banks report an increase of losses up to 13 million leva in August compared to July, "24 Chassa" writes citing data from the BNB balance sheet for January-August 1995.

    Kurdjali BT Inc. has contracted the sale of 1,500 tonnes of tobacco of last year's harvest to Socotab Leaf Tobacco Co. Inc. of the United States, "Pari" says. According to "Pari", the price of the contract is nearly 4 million US dollars, and according to "24 Chassa", 3.6 million US dollars.

    The Suedinenie National Union of Cooperative and Agricultural Banks has been approved by PHARE as a distributor of Ecu 7 million granted for Bulgarian agriculture, "Standart News" writes citing the Union's executive director.

    The press writes that the exporters of lamb insist on charging minimum taxes on their exports. "This runs counter to the requirements of the World Trade Organization we want to join," Deputy Minister of Trade Borislav Georgiev is cited as saying in "Troud".

    [11] FULL ARMS TRADE LICENCE GRANTED TO TWO COMPANIES ONLY

    Sofia, October 5 (BTA) - Kintex Inc. and Elmed Engineering Inc. are the only companies granted full licence for foreign trade in military and special products. A decision to that effect was taken by the Interdepartmental Council on the Military Industrial Complex and Mobilization Readiness, and approved by cabinet at its regular sitting today. Two companies - Teraton and Armimex - had their full licence revoked but were allowed to carry out the contracts they have signed by September 30 1995. A limiter trading licence was granted to the Sopot works, Arsenal of Kazanluk, Arkos of Lyaskovets, Pima of Montana, Trema of Tryavna, Beta of Cherven Bryag, Dunarit of Rousse, Metalchim Holding of Sopot, Elektron Consortium of Sofia, the Ministry of the Interior and the Terem works of Sofia, that all are allowed to trade in their own products only.

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