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News from Bulgaria / Oct 31 95

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

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory

EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.

BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT ZHELEV ON BALKAN TRANSPORT CORRIDORS

  • [02] FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINSKI ON CORRIDORS

  • [03] BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LEFT FOR LUXEMBOURG

  • [04] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER LEAVES FOR GREECE

  • [05] W.A.N.O. LAUNCHES CHECKUP AT KOZLODUI N-PLANT

  • [06] BUNDESWEHR INSPECTOR GENERAL TO VISIT BULGARIA

  • [07] BSP, UDF ON LOCAL ELECTIONS

  • [08] MEETINGS OF BULGARIAN DELEGATION TO AMMAN


  • [01] PRESIDENT ZHELEV ON BALKAN TRANSPORT CORRIDORS

    Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - "Transport Corridors Conflict Interests Of No Balkan Country" caps an interview in the "Capital" weekly with Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev. The interview is occasioned by the signing of a declaration by the state leaders of Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey for a transport corridor to Italy crossing their territories. There is no rivalry between the North-South and West- East corridors, and they should not be opposed, says the President. He speaks in favour of both, adding that working on one of them at the expense of the other is not to Bulgaria's benefit. The Bulgarian Head of State sees no reason for seeing the declaration "as a separate foreign policy, different from that of the government". This statement was prompted by remarks that the idea was not coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The interviewee further says that although the cabinet has always stated it is not changing Bulgaria's foreign policy priorities, there is unfortunately a shift of emphasis that is not to the benefit of this country. "A heavy emphasis is being placed on Greek only and this is not normal," President Zhelev specifies. Over the past five years, Bulgaria sought to have equally friendly relations with Greece and Turkey alike, stresses the President. He further argues that Bulgaria should pursue a balanced policy in the Balkans and maintain this balance, particularly as regards Greece and Turkey. "Any imbalance as regards these two countries could harm Bulgaria, and the Balkans as well," says Dr. Zhelev. He goes on to express his surprise at the negative reaction of Greece to the signing of the quadrilateral declaration. He believes firmly that the infrastructure projects encroach on the interests of no Balkan country, including Greece. Asked if there is more clarity on Bulgaria's participation in the mini-Marshall Plan on the restoration of former Yugoslavia after the end of the conflict there, the President says he has brought this issue to the fore during his meetings in New York. Bulgaria has the priority to be a neighbouring country and many Bulgarian companies - state-owned and private alike could be involved in the immediate restoration work or in providing supplies the army to be deployed there. Putting these plans into practice depends on the government, President Zhelev says in conclusion.

    [02] FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINSKI ON CORRIDORS

    Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - Bulgaria will attain indisputable success if it manages to combine the transport and telecommunications corridors linking Central Europe with the Eastern Mediterranean, with the Black Sea, the corridors from the North to the South and from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said in an interview over the national television tonight. According to Minister Pirinski, Bulgaria's central geographical position offers this country "a very serious chance". "We must do our best to make use of these chances and to join Europe, intensify our economy and ensure better security both for Bulgaria and for the whole region," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said. Mr Pirinski recalled that the E.U. declared its support for a link between the heart of Europe and the region, in which Bulgaria is situated. A week ago in New York President Zhelev took part in the synchronization of a project for a West-East corridor with the heads of state of Turkey, Albania and Macedonia. Minister Pirinski said that he was encouraged by the fact that the ceremony was attended by European Commissioner Hans van der Broek, "who recognized the European dimension of the West-East corridor." At the meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU and the associated states Minister Pirinski is going to get familiarized with Mr Van den Broek's views on "the best possible realization of the different transport and communications links passing across Bulgaria". The Bulgarian Foreign Minister said that the projects would require significant funding. He said that according to his estimates there are certain possibilities for attracting funds for making design projects. "The best way of realizing the projects is hardly if one state institution works on one corridor, and the other one, on another corridor and if it happens that there is one presidential and one governmental corridor. This would be unwise. This is not the way to gain the confidence of international investor and hardly provides the best guarantees for smooth transfer of cargoes along these corridors," Minister Pirinski said. According to the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, what remains to be done is ensure good synchronization between the institutions. "The Government is ready for that," the Chief Bulgarian diplomat said.

    [03] BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LEFT FOR LUXEMBOURG

    Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski left for Luxembourg to take part in a meeting of EU and associated countries foreign ministers. Asked by a BTA reporter about the highlights of his tomorrow's address, Pirinski said: "On a number of occasions we have stated that the PHARE programme should develop in two directions: intensification of the processes of Bulgaria's association with the EU and encouraging investment projects, rather than providing only technical assistance." Mr Pirinski said he hopes to get better familiarized with the plans for EU restructuring and enlargement. Although the issue about EU visa blacklist does not figure on the agenda of the meeting, Minister Pirinski projects that the question about the same starting position will be raised within the context of EU enlargement. "We have all grounds to voice our unambiguous and categorical expectation, within this context, that Bulgaria be treated equally with the other associated countries," Minister Pirinski said.

    [04] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER LEAVES FOR GREECE

    Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Roumen Gechev left on a two-day working visit to Greece. Gechev, who is also minister of economic development, will take part in an economic meeting of the countries of the Balkan region. The meeting will discuss the economic development of the Balkan peninsula and opportunities for investment and trade after the end of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Gechev said upon his departure. The meeting will be attended by economists and businessmen from all parts of the world as well as by high-ranking politicians from countries involved in the settlement of the Yugoconflict. "I have been assigned to talk with them, especially with US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke," Gechev said.

    [05] W.A.N.O. LAUNCHES CHECKUP AT KOZLODUI N-PLANT

    Vratsa, October 30 (BTA corr.) - A team of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) today launched a partner inspection of Power Units Five and Six of the Kozlodui Nuclear Power Plant, on the Danube. Participating are 18 experts of France, Hungary, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United States and Ukraine. The checkup will last until November 21. The experts will study the operational reliability and safety of the two 1,000-MW units. The findings will be set forth in an official report.

    One hundred research workers and experts are participating in the annual conference of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society that opened in Kozlodui today. In the course of three days the forum will discuss nuclear technologies, nuclear safety, protection from radiation and the condition of and prospects for Bulgarian nuclear power production. The keynote report will be delivered by Kozlodui N- plant CEO Kozma Kouzmanov.

    [06] BUNDESWEHR INSPECTOR GENERAL TO VISIT BULGARIA

    Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - A military delegation, led by General Klaus Naumann, Inspector General of the Bundeswehr will visit here from November 1 through November 3 on the invitation of Colonel General Tsvetan Totomirov, Chief of General Staff of the Bulgarian Army, reads a press release of the Bulgarian Defence Ministry. The visit is under the programme for promotion of military and political relations and military contacts, signed by the Bundeswehr and the Bulgarian Army, the press release says. The reforms in the two armies, the current state of bilateral cooperation, the military and political situation in the Balkans and European security issues will be high on the agenda of the talks. The programme of the German delegation envisages meetings with Tsvetan Totomirov, Defence Minister Dimiter Pavlov, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and President Zhelyu Zhelev. The delegation is going to visit Bulgarian Army units.

    [07] BSP, UDF ON LOCAL ELECTIONS

    Sofia, October 10 (BTA) - Returns from 86.1 per cent of the voting lists show that 54.7 per cent of electors had voted for councillors and 53.1 per cent for mayors, Ralitsa Negentsova, Spokesperson for the Central Electoral Commission said. The votes for councillors are distributed as follows: 41 per cent for the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and its coalition partners, 24.7 per cent for the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), 12.3 per cent for the Popular Union, 8.2 per cent for the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), 5 per cent for the Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB). Ms Negentsova noted that the results does not take into account the fact that in certain parts some of the above political forces run in the elections as campaign allies. The BSP-led coalition garnered 37.8 per cent of the vote for mayors, UDF 27.2 per cent, the Popular Union 15.8 per cent, MRF 7.7 per cent and BBB 3.5 per cent. "The Democratic Left achieved a great election success improving considerably its positions in municipal government," BSP Leader Zhan Videnov told a news conference today. "Practically the opposition UDF retained its positions only in Sofia and Plovdiv," Videnov stated. In the earlier elections BSP won only 113 mayoral seats and now it has 116 after the first round alone, it became clear at the news conference. The candidates of BSP and its coalition partners top the polls in 79 per cent of the municipalities, according to the BSP leadership. The Socialists expect to win another 40-45 mayoral seats in the second round. Their goal is to canvass BSP supporters who did not vote in the first round to cast their ballots in the second one. UDF also gave a news conference with the participation of UDF mayoral candidate Stefan Sofiyanski. UDF Leader Ivan Kostov described the elections as successful. UDF believes that BSP's performance was poorer from last December's parliamentary elections, while the Union had a better showing and this is a steady political tendency, Kostov said. He stated that UDF's showing in yesterday's elections was the first step towards the future presidential elections and possible early parliamentary elections. Stefan Sofiyanski said he is convinced in his victory in the second ballot. He expressed his satisfaction that the democratic opposition holds the majority of councillors' seats.

    [08] MEETINGS OF BULGARIAN DELEGATION TO AMMAN

    Amman, October 30 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev, who is at the head of a Bulgarian governmental delegation to the international economic forum in Amman, had a number of business meetings in the Jordanian capital.

    The Bulgarian delegation was received by Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Jordan Sharif Zaid Bin Shaker. The Bulgarian officials expressed the willingness of Bulgarian companies and organizations to participate in the implementation of projects for the development of both Jordan and the region, which are currently discussed at the forum.

    The Jordanian side stressed that a number of leading private companies express active interest in expanding their cooperation with Bulgarian organizations and firms. The two sides discussed the opportunities for increasing the Bulgarian-Jordanian trade which currently amounts to US$ 30 million. The Bulgarian-Jordanian commercial exchange is expected to grow to US$ 50 million, and later to more than US$ 100 million.

    Tsochev conveyed Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's greetings and invitation to his Jordanian counterpart Sharif Zaid Ben Shaker to visit Bulgaria.

    The meeting between the Bulgarian officials and the German Economics Minister Guenter Rexrodt reviewed the progress on the agreements reached during the discussions of the Bulgarian-German Council for Cooperation in May 1995 in Sofia.

    Rexrodt expressed a disagreement with Bulgaria's inclusion in the so-called 'blacklist'. He committed himself to insist before the German government to assist in finding a solution to this problem.

    Tsochev informed Rexrodt about the start of the talks between Bulgarian technical experts in the field of power generation and representatives of the European Union (EU) member-states, which focus on the EU proposal for providing assistance in future projects for the stabilization of Bulgaria's power grid.

    According to Rexrodt, Germany would lend assistance for a project for a second Danubian bridge between Bulgaria and Romania in the western section of the river.

    Participants in the meeting between Tsochev and the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuo Fukuda expressed their dissatisfaction with the small amount of Japanese investments in Bulgaria. The sides hope that Japan will take an active part in Bulgaria's privatization process through investments in both existing plants and for the construction of new ones.

    During his talks with Brazilian Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Dorothea Wernick, Tsochev discussed the prospects for increasing the ties between the Bulgarian and Brazilian business circles.

    During their meeting, Tsochev and Slovenian Foreign Minister Zoran Thaler agreed for a group of Bulgarian experts to visit Ljubljana in mid-November and start negotiations for the setting-up of a free trade zone between Bulgaria and Slovenia.

    Tsochev also met with Dr Yasim Al-Maney, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF, an organization of nearly 20 countries of the region). The talks focused on the opportunities for Bulgaria's participation as a subcontractor in AMF-financed projects for the region's growth.

    At the talks with Vicente Ballester, Spanish state Secretary on international cooperation, Tsochev expressed his hopes that being a country which holds the EU presidency Spain will render active assistance for Bulgaria's removal from the EU visa blacklist and for this country's inclusion among the founders of New Forum. As a country which suffered great losses from the war in former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria should get the support of Spain and EU in the implementation of the mini-Marshall plan, Tsochev stated.

    The Spanish side showed interest in the progress of negotiations between Bulgaria and Romania on the construction of a second bridge across the Danube and in the country's overall economic condition.

    Later, the Bulgarian delegation met with members of the Kuwaiti delegation. The Bulgarian side requested information about Kuwait's plans to take part in the projects for the post-war reconstruction of former Yugoslavia. The sides discussed the prospects for the inclusion of Bulgarian companies and organizations (as contractors and subcontractors) in projects for the reconstruction of the Balkan region.

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