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News from Bulgaria / Apr 25, 96

From: (Embassy of Bulgaria)

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory



25 April, 1996















    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Germany supports Bulgaria's intention and efforts to be removed form the European Union visa black list, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said upon his arrival from Bonn today, where he paid a three-day visit. Pirinski cited a statement to the press of his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel after the two officials' meeting in Bonn. Germany expressed a readiness to analyze, together with Bulgaria, the factors which would result in this country's removal form the negative list, as well as to determine the joint steps to this end, Pirinski said. During his visit to Germany, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister attended the meeting establishing the Bulgarian-German Forum whose aim is to promote bilateral economic and political relations. Pirinski also met with senior politicians, held talks with Kinkel and read a lecture on "Bulgaria's Path to the European Union".

    As a reason for the effective visa regulations' keeping place, the German side lists the absence of visa-free agreements before the negative list's entry into force, as well as issues related to the transit traffic via Bulgaria and the likely problems concerning organized crime and other unlawful activities, Pirinski said. There are official statements that eased visa procedures have been introduced for business travellers, Pirinski said. According to him, the atmosphere during the setting up of the Bulgarian-German Forum and the interest in Bulgaria on the part of the German officials give rise to expectations that the visa regulations may be eased.

    The initiative of the Bulgarian Government for regional stability and cooperation in the projects for the reconstruction of the war-devastated regions in former Yugoslavia were high on the agenda during Pirinski's visit to Bonn.

    The Bulgarian Foreign Minister listed three points for developing the regional infrastructure on which the German and the Bulgarian sides have similar stands. Developing of infrastructure will improve transport links and telecommunications which do not meet the requirements of the business people and the citizens; it will also attract foreign investors who are waiting for commitments on the part of international financial institutions and individual governments; finally, it will guarantee the political stability in the region.

    German politicians and business people will pay a number of important visits to Bulgaria, Pirinski said. He went on to stress the forthcoming visit to Sofia of German Minister of Economics Guenter Rexrodt and the visit of Bavarian Minister-President Edmund Steuber which starts on Thursday. An invitation to German Foreign Minister Kinkel has been extended earlier but the concrete dates are yet to be specified, Pirinski said.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - The visit to Skopje should be better prepared, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said today upon his return from Bonn. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister was officially said to have postponed his visit to Macedonia to give diplomats of the two countries time to prepare it better. This stand was reiterated today by Pirinski.

    More work should be done to identify the two countries' readiness for a progress in bilateral relations, and for this reason more time was given for contacts between senior officials, Pirinski told journalists at the Sofia airport. He expressed surprise at Macedonian press reports saying the Bulgarian side is to blame for the delay of the visit.

    The Bulgarian Foreign Minister dismissed speculations about the possibility of the two countries failing to sign bilateral accords because of the linguistic dispute. Bulgaria does not question the realities close to, and far from, its borders, he said. According to him, this country has shown clearly its desire to see all neighbouring countries, including Macedonia, developing smoothly and unhindered.

    The proposal to sign the documents in the official languages of the two countries is one possible neutral solution, the Foreign Minister said adding that Skopje has a different stand which it considers as final. Seeking international arbitration on the matter is not necessary as there is a sufficiently constructive dialogue between the two countries, said Pirinski. Solving such problems takes time, he added.


    Belgrade, April 24 (BTA corr. L. Mitakev) - "Though ours is a private entity, we fully support the efforts of the governments of Bulgaria and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to re-establish the economic ties which existed between them until sanctions were imposed on Yugoslavia and to reach an annual turnover of some 500 million dollars as agreed recently by Prime Ministers Zhan Videnov and Radoje Kontic," said Nikolai Zlatev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Trade and Savings Bank. He addressed today representatives of Yugoslavia's financial and business elite gathered at Belgrade's International Hotel. Zlatev spoke about the potential of TSBank and Prime Investment Fund to carry out investment projects in Yugoslavia. TSBank opened a representative office in Belgrade in February 1995.


    United Nations, New York, April 24 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Roumen Gechev, who was elected Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, met with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Also attending was Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary General responsible for political coordination and sustainable development, UN office in Bulgaria said.

    Boutros-Ghali stressed the role of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development as a major coordinating body of the United Nations in implementing the decisions of the 1992 Global Environmental Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The UN Secretary General noted the importance of the current session of the Committee on Sustainable Development for the preparation of the upcoming special session of the UN General Assembly in 1997 which is to make a review in detail of the implementation of Program 21.

    Minister Gechev familiarized Boutros-Ghali with the most important issues considered at the Committee's session and the results expected from it. Gechev outlined the priorities in the policy of the Bulgarian Government in the field of economic development and especially the ones aimed to improve macroeconomic stability, curb inflation and accelerate the privatization process. Minister Gechev said that it is very important to promote regional cooperation and paid special attention to Bulgaria's efforts to boost regional security and cooperation and to the preparation of a meeting of the Balkan foreign ministers due in Sofia in June. UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali praised Bulgaria's active role in the region and wished this country a successful presidency.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Prime Minister Zhan Videnov today received Pekka Tarjane, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who will attend the first meeting of ministers responsible for posts and telecommunications of the Balkan countries. The meeting opens here on Thursday. Tarjane expressed the view that the future of telecommunications lies in regional development and not in restricting them to a single country, Government Spokesman Nikola Baltov told BTA. Tarjane was pleased that such a meeting would be held to coordinate efforts and find ways for regional cooperation, Baltov said.

    Prime Minister Videnov emphasized the Bulgarian Government's political will to promote regional cooperation in different areas. The Sofia meeting is part of this process, Videnov said, adding that hopes are also pinned on a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Balkan countries which is under preparation. These events inevitably give a fresh impetus to pan-Balkan cooperation and create normal conditions for its development, Videnov said. He stressed the importance of the forums in the context of the overall development of the process of integration into the European Union, to which Bulgaria confirms its political commitment.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Lyubomir Kolarov, President of the Committee of Posts and Telecommunications, will propose to Balkan posts and telecoms ministers that a Balkan Telecommunications Pool and a Balkan Post Pool be based in Bulgaria. The two-day meeting of ministers responsible for posts and telecommunications of the Balkan countries opens in Sofia on Thursday. Another option is to rotate the headquarters of the two Pools, Kolarov told the press.

    The Telecoms Pool will work towards the interconnection of national networks in a single high-tech regional network, as part of European infrastructure. It will facilitate the trans-boundary exchange of telecoms services in banking, transport, tourism and other sectors. The Post Pool will work towards faster postal services and safer delivery. It will help set up a regional centre training post masters. An expert group at state administration level will harmonize laws and regulations, radio frequency management, mutual recognition of licences, etc.

    The putting of a Balkan telecoms satellite into orbit, which will be discussed at the meeting, will cost between 100 and 150 million dollars, Kolarov said, which will be recouped in three to four years. The satellite may stay in orbit for up to 15 years, Kolarov said. Bulgaria will also propose that a Council of Ministers responsible for posts and telecommunications of the Balkan countries be set up to make forums in the telecoms sector more frequent.

    The meeting will be attended by representatives of Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, Yugoslavia, Moldova, Slovenia, Turkey, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and the Republic of Macedonia. Countries outside the Balkan region will be observers, Kolarov said. Pekka Tarjane, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, is in Sofia for the meeting. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the European Commission will also be represented at the forum.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Bulgarian and Romanian experts here today discussed joint measures for nuclear safety. The sides ended two days of talks on a draft intergovernmental accord on early notification of a nuclear accident and exchange of information on nuclear facilities. The heads of the two delegations - Yanko Yanev, chief of the Bulgarian Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, and Anton Dragomirescu, chairman of the Romanian national committee monitoring nuclear activity - signed a memorandum of agreement on the text of the intergovernmental accord. The draft agreement might undergo some minor changes and the sides hope it will be signed at government level this summer, said Yanev. The draft agreement envisages measures for early notification of a nuclear accident and of accidents during transportation of nuclear fuel and waste. The two countries also pledged to inform each other of the launch of construction of nuclear facilities.

    "I don't think the Romanian side has any objections as to the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene [on the Bulgarian bank of the Danube] but we should be informed of the measures for its security," said Dragomirescu. He denied allegations in the Bulgarian and Romanian press that the newly launched reactor of Romania's Cernavoda N-plant will pollute the Danube. Yanev said on his turn that there are no reasons to consider the Romanian N-plant as dangerous.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - The papers report about yesterday's rise in the exchange rate of the US dollar up to 89 leva/USD 1 on the interbank market and make forecasts about its fluctuations in the next few days. Yesterday the central exchange rate was 83.230 leva. "Novinar" says that interbank trading came to a complete halt yesterday. The dollar traded at 90 leva on the cash market and hit 88 leva on the interbank market, up from 85.70 leva the day before.

    "Novinar" quotes Nikola Koichev, MP of the Democratic Left and Chairman of the Economic Committee, as saying that the dollar may hit 100 leva. The paper says that the US currency has risen by 8.5 leva on the interbank market, and by 10 leva on the cash market since April 15. According to "Novinar", the first shock was caused by a single large buyer, the gas trading company Bulgargas. It quotes anonymous dealers as saying that another major buyer would wreak havoc on the market.

    "Troud" writes that contrary to some expectations, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) did not intervene directly on the market and three finance houses were plunged into a crisis, being unable to pay banks for currency purchases. "This would deepen the liquidity crisis," "Troud" notes.

    "Standart News" reports that yesterday small banks were unable to service customers for lack of foreign currency. "Yesterday the BNB did nothing to stop the hysteria. The crisis broke out while the head of the central bank foreign currency department, Stoyan Shoukerov, and his team of dealers were abroad," the paper says. "Standart News" writes that possibly most financial houses will have their licences revoked.

    According to the paper, the hysteria was produced by the financial houses Balkan International, UFG and Brokerguard, which a month ago concluded futures contracts at 81 leva for a dollar maturing in April but refused to effect payment by the end of last week. The "Standart News" publication says that the Bulgarian Post Bank and Unionbank are also involved in the affair; they bought the contracts and sold the dollars to two foreign banks, Ingbank and Reifeisenbank. "The Bulgarian banks will have to make the payment, otherwise there will an international scandal," the paper says referring to experts.

    The same paper predicts that the US dollar will continue to strengthen, hitting 90 leva by the end of the week. Exchange rates got out of control and no wonder if the dollar is exchanged for 190-200 leva soon, dealers told "Standart News".

    The Left will support the BNB if it has no other alternative than increasing the base interest rate, Nikolai Koichev, member of the Executive Bureau of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Chairman of the parliamentary Economic Committee, said at a news conference yesterday. "24 Chassa" cites Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Construction Doncho Konakchiev who said that the Government would support the increase of interest rates.

    The same paper writes that the Cabinet wants the BNB banking supervisors to audit financial houses and foreign exchange offices, to create a system for the management and control of foreign currency deals, to revise the status of financial houses and foreign exchange offices and to demand the revocation of passports held by chiefs of commercial partnerships that are heavily indebted to banks.

    Interviewed for "Standart News", Kiril Tsochev, ex-deputy prime minister and minister of trade and foreign economic cooperation in Zhan Videnov's Cabinet, states that if Bulgaria fails to make loan arrangements with the International Monetary Fund, after effecting its foreign service payments in about two months, its foreign currency reserve will drop down to the "sanitary" minimum of 350 million US dollars. "Thus we will find ourselves on the verge of bankruptcy," Tsochev says.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Paco Rabanne will show his new collection in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Albena on June 4, ahead of its world premier. This was announced by the producer of the Blyasuk [Lustre] fashion TV show, Plamen Mitrev, who have signed a contract to that effect with the world-famous designer. The fashion world will see Rabanne's collection in Paris a month later, on July 10.


    Varna, April 24 (BTA correspondent) - One of the four gold objects dating from the Mycenaean age (17-16 century B.C.) known so far to science was found in the Black Sea city of Varna (the ancient Odessos), archaeologist Alexander Minchev says. The find is a gold diadem discovered in a Thracian tomb in the city's Sea Garden.

    The site was actually excavated in 1939 and 1946; the finds are described in a communication by Milko Mirchev in "Izvestiya na Kamarata na Koultourata" (The Chamber of Culture Communications) in 1947. The tomb was a rich one: there were over 100 terracotta pieces, bronze objects, small statues and several pieces of gold jewelry. All the finds were dated back to the 3rd century B.C. except one gold diadem. The diadem was a mystery because it had no parallel eitheir in the Hellenistic age or in earlier periods.

    "Reading the bulletin of French Institute of Archaeology in Athens, I came upon a publication about the finds discovered in a population centre of the Bronze age. A spiral-shaped gold diadem was also found there, though smaller in size. Interestingly, it was dated back to the 17-16 century B.C., i.e. to the Mycenaean age," Mr Minchev told BTA. Archaeologists know another two circular gold objects - probably bracelets revealing marksmanship typical for that age; they were found in Mycenae itself. The diadem discovered in Varna is the fourth object dating back to the Mycenaean age.

    According to Alexander Minchev, there are two possible explanations for an object from an earlier period getting into a tomb from a later period. First, Thracia and Mycenae maintained relations and the diadem could have been brought to the Bulgarian lands, outliving its owners. Second, the diadem could have been stolen from a Mycenaean tomb and, changing hands, was taken to Odessos as a valuable piece of jewelry. German archaeologists say there are cases when objects from earlier periods have been found in tombs of a later age.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - The fire near the Chernobyl nuclear plant poses no danger to the population. Only a village house burned down and there is nothing serious, the Chair of the Bulgarian Committee for Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Yanko Yanev said today. He believes it could have been an arson prompted by the presence of NGO representatives in the N-plant area.

    The fire in a village just outside the Chernobyl plant, of which Reuters reported yesterday, broke out exactly 10 years after the 1986 accident in this nuclear plant - the worst ever known - whose aftermaths were felt across Europe. A round-table discussion was organized in Sofia today for the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident with the participation of Ambassador Alexander Avdeev of Russia, Alexander Vorobyov of Ukraine and Alexander Gerasimenko of Belarus, intellectuals and journalists. "What happened in Chernobyl should never be forgotten," said the Russian Ambassador.

    In its central evening news cast Bulgarian National Television reported that according to a fax received from the International Atomic Energy Agency, yesterday's fire near Chernobyl has caused no radioactive contamination so far. The Bulgarian Civil Defence said that the radiation background in Bulgaria has not increased. According to an announcement of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, cited by National TV, no movement of air currents from Ukraine to Bulgaria is expected in the next few days. According to the Civil Defence deputy chief Colonel Nedyo Radev, apart from yesterday's Reuters report the Civil Defence has received no official information from international organizations on some alarming developments in the area around Chernobyl as well as of transborder radioactive contamination. Radiation level measurements are taken every eight hours in Bulgaria.


    Sofia, April 24 (BTA) - Simeon Coburg-Gotha should not be hindered from visiting Bulgaria, presidential spokesman Valentin Stoyanov said in a statement on National TV tonight. Speaking on behalf of the President, he said that apart from being a Bulgarian citizen, Simeon is also part of Bulgarian history. For Dr Zhelev it would be a pleasure to welcome him on Bulgarian land and to invite him to dinner at his house, the presidential spokesman said.

    By raising artificial obstacles to the extension of Simeon Coburg- Gotha's Bulgarian passport, the Government is once again discrediting Bulgaria in the eyes of the democratic world, the President believes. According to him, no less discrediting is the decision of the Cabinet to recall Bulgaria's ambassador in Madrid Mihail Petkov. Ambassador Petkov invited Simeon to a reception at the Bulgarian Embassy on the occasion of Bulgaria's National Day - March 3.

    By Constitution, ambassadors are appointed and recalled by the President, the presidential spokesman said. Dr Zhelev will not recall Petkov for an act he believes to be only normal.

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