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News from Bulgaria, 96-07-08
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From: Embassy of Bulgaria <email@example.com>
EMBASSY OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.
BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY
8 July, 1996
 PRESIDENT ZHELEV TO ATTEND EUROPEAN ECONOMIC FORUMSofia, July 7 (BTA) - Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev left for Salzburg, Austria, today to attend the World Economic Forum's Central and Eastern European Economic Summit. The meeting will be attended by twelve more state and government leaders and will be held under the aegis of the World Economic Forum and Austrian President Thomas Klestil. Zhelev is accompanied by Trade Minister Atanas Paparizov.
The forum is expected to discuss three groups of issues - the prospects of EU enlargement to the East, the preparation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe for integration in the EU and their relations with Russia after the presidential elections there.
During the two-day forum President Zhelev will meet Austrian President Thomas Klestil and his counterparts of Albania and Slovakia - Sali Berisha and Michal Kovac. He may also have other bilateral meetings as the forum will be attended by high-ranking representatives of Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Slovenia, Poland and other countries.
 PARTICIPANTS IN BALKAN CONFERENCE DEFINE IT A SUCCESSSofia, July 7 (BTA) - The participants in the Balkan conference on Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe held on the initiative of the Bulgarian Government in Sofia during the weekend defined it as successful. They adopted unanimously a Sofia declaration on good-neighbourly relations, stability, security and cooperation in the Balkans. The participants agreed to hold the next meeting next year in Greece.
Attending were Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Romania, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia and Slovenia sent observers. Macedonia withdrew after efforts to find a compromising formula over its name failed. Participating were also representatives of various international organizations and institutions and the member countries of the Contact group for former Yugoslavia - the USA, Russia, Germany, England and France.
The agreements to promote good neighbourly relations, economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation and combat organized crime give a chance to the countries of the region to overcome the crises, hostility and build up a future for the Balkans in the 21st century, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said at a news conference after the meeting.
This was a very important meeting with significant results. It has its contribution to the peace in Bosnia and Herzegevoina, Carl Bildt, High representative of the Council of the European Union for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina, said before the journalists.
"The very fact that we gathered here for the first time following the Yugoslav crisis is a clear evidence that this meeting is successful," Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said answering a question whether he considers the meeting a success or a failure. Important achievement is the decision to hold such meetings regularly, according to Melescanu. "The fact that the countries are united by clear and universally-recognized principles of cooperation will stimulate the development of the region," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Pirinski stated. He stressed that this is important in a period of transition and transformations when investments become a key factor. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos also described the meeting as successful for all the participants and for the Bulgarian government.
Asked whether he thinks that the presence of FR Yugoslavia is a response to calls for re-integration of this country in the international community, Carl Bildt answered that there will be positive results if Belgrade takes the necessary steps.
The hope that Macedonia will attend the next meeting was expressed at the news conference. The Skopje government made a serious mistake refusing to take part in the conference, Greek Foreign Minister Pangalos said. Asked whether Bulgaria, being a host of the meeting, should not find a compromise for the name under which Macedonia should attend and prevent its withdrawing, Pirinski answered: "We cannot predetermine [the solution of] a row on which negotiations are being currently conducted". Minister Pirinski noted that Macedonian proposals made at meetings held prior to the conference were included in the final document adopted by the participants. "We hope that the problems will be resolved by the time of the next meeting," Yugoslav Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Milan Milutinovic stated.
"Cooperation in the Balkans is possible," Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said at a reception he gave for the participants after the conference. According to him, the most important result was that fears that Balkan cooperation and good-neighbourliness are difficult to achieve were dispelled. Videnov stated that what was attained was a result of the joint efforts of the participants.
 SOFIA CONFERENCE ADOPTS DECLARATIONSofia, July 7 (BTA) - The foreign ministers and heads of delegations of the Southeastern European countries taking part in the two-day Balkan Conference on Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe adopted a Sofia Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in the Balkans.
"The Ministers agreed to launch a comprehensive process in the following areas: enhancing of good-neighbourly relations, including confidence- and security-building measures; development of economic cooperation through cross-border cooperation, upgrading transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructures, promotion of trade and investment; development of humanitarian, social and cultural contacts; cooperation in the filed of justice, combat of organized crime, illicit drug and arms trafficking and elimination of terrorism," reads the declaration. It includes a number of concrete initiatives and commitments in these spheres.
The documents stresses the importance to promote multilateral political dialogue and cooperation on all levels and on all issues of mutual interest. It takes note of the idea to set up a consultative assembly of the parliaments of the participating states.
"The Ministers considered the prospects for multilateral co- operation in European perspective and as deriving from the common aspirations of each country of the region to integrate into Europe. In this respect they expressed their readiness to interact with other initiatives for regional cooperation in South Eastern Europe with mutually reinforcing effect, stressing particularly the significance of the initiative of the European Union as well as the South-East European Co-operative Initiative. They also stated their willingness to develop cooperation on matters of common interest with the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Central European Initiative," the declaration says.
In conclusion the Ministers express their confidence that the achieved agreements will contribute to the overall stability, security and cooperation in Europe. The participants state in the declaration their confidence that the agreements achieved are in compliance with the European Union Platform for action and the Royaumont process and their hope that these agreements will be fully supported by the European Union. The Ministers describe the conference as a "new beginning of multilateral regional cooperation". They decided on the holding of a meeting of their representatives in Sofia to examine the proposals presented during the conference and coordinate future actions. The participants achieved an agreement to hold the next meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs of the countries of South-Eastern Europe in Greece in 1997.
The full text of the declaration is avilable from the Embassy and will be accessible shotly on our web page.
 MEETINGS OF PM VIDENOVSofia, July 7 (BTA) - Today Prime Minister Zhan Videnov received the international community's High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Carl Bildt, and William Montgomery, special advisor to the President and the Secretary of State of the US on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the government press office said. Bildt and Montgomery are in Sofia for the two-day Balkan Conference on Stability, Security and Cooperation on South Eastern Europe.
At his meeting with Videnov, Bildt said the Sofia meeting contributed to the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina and described it as an important event. Bildt said the international community will follow with interest the implementation of the agreements included in the Sofia Declaration and that future development of cooperation in the Balkan region will be assessed on the basis of the implementation of these agreements.
Bildt described the forthcoming elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina as important in building democratic institutions and reconstructing the economy. He praised the competitiveness of the Bulgarian companies applying for participation in the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prime Minister Videnov said that the main goal of the Bulgarian Government in the region is to establish relations excluding the isolation of any state from the overall process of integration. Therefore Bulgaria views infrastructure projects on the Balkans not only as economically efficient but also as political bridges for cooperation. Bulgaria attaches great importance to the Transregional Centre for Transport Infrastructures, the Prime Minister also said.
Videnov's meeting with Ambassador Willian Montgomery, who is also former US ambassador to Bulgaria, discussed problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two sides agreed that stability and security in the region requires the achievement of a balance of armaments at the lowest possible level. The Bulgarian side expressed its readiness to render assistance in solving the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the spirit of the Dayton Agreement.
The meeting also expressed mutual satisfaction with the progress of relations between Bulgaria and the US, the granting of a most favoured nation status to Bulgaria and the successful interaction between the two countries for Bulgaria's full membership in GATT. There is common will for reaching new bilateral agreements in different spheres, including in trade, the government press office said.
 GENSCHER: GERMANY SHOULD CONTINUE TO DEFEND BULGARIAN INTERESTS IN EUSofia, July 7 (BTA) - "Bulgarian-German relation are making good progress. They are in harmony with the traditional friendship between Germans and Bulgarians and the shared responsibility for the future. Germany should keep on being the understanding advocate of Bulgaria's interests in the European Union," former German foreign minister Hans- Dietrich Genscher told Simeon Vassilev in an exclusive interview for BTA. Genscher will visit Sofia next week. He is scheduled to meet President Zhelyu Zhelev, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski and National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov.
Asked about his attitude to the Balkan Conference of Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe, Genscher said that to have stability in the Balkans all should respect the peoples' right to self- determination, the minority rights and the human rights. "Through its agreements and also through its enlargement the European Union can additionally contribute to the stability," he stated. "The transformation processes progress but at a different speed. The Central and Southeastern European countries should have the ambition to implement vigorously the reform policy not in order to please the EU, but because this is in their own interest," Genscher stated.
He said he finds unsatisfactory the EU decision to start the negotiations on the accession of the Central and Southeastern European states six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference. "The term should not depend on developments in the EU. I suggest the date January 1, 1998," Genscher added. He stated in the interview that negotiations with all countries having signed an association agreement should start at the same time. "There should not be first, second and third class associate partners. "Of course, the continuity of the negotiations will depend on the condition of the reform policy in the separate applicants," Hans-Dietrich Genscher said.
 MULTINATIONAL EXERCISE IN BULGARIABelene (Northern Bulgaria), July 7 (BTA) - Today was the official ceremony on the opening of the Cooperative Determination'96 multinational military exercise in Belene. The participating countries are three NATO members: Greece, Turkey and USA, and four Partnership for Peace countries: Bulgaria, Malta, Moldova and Romania. The exercise will last until July 12.
"This is the first multinational ground exercise within Partnership for Peace which is held on Bulgarian territory under NATO's command," Bulgarian Defence Dimiter Pavlov says in an address read to the participants. According to Pavlov, the event is indicative of the consistent Bulgarian policy aimed at integration into the European and Euro- Atlantic structures and of Bulgaria's aspiration to participate actively in the building of new architecture of European security and most of all to promote cooperation, confidence and security in the Balkans.
Minister Pavlov is expected to visit the region where the exercise takes place on July 9 and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, on July 11. The main purpose of the event is to enhance operational compatibility of the armies of the Partnership for Peace member-countries and NATO in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. Cooperative Determination'96 was prepared at the NATO headquarters in Europe in January 1996 together with the Bulgarian Defence Ministry and the General Staff of the Bulgarian Army.
 BUSINESS NEWS BRIEFSSofia, July 7 (BTA) - The Parliamentary Economic Committee approved a small private enterprises bill which will be moved with Parliament for discussions. The bill provides state preferences for enterprises with fixed assets of the equal of not less than 100,000 US dollars and a staff of not more than 20 people. Under the bill interest on loans extended to these enterprises should not exceed 50 percent of the base interest rate and their profit and income taxes should be reduced 50 percent.
The Bulgarleasing partnership registered its first foreign branch in Zug (Switzerland), the company's chief Dimiter Tadarukov told journalists.
The Sanit Bulgarian-British joint venture was officially opened in Pleven (Southern Bulgaria). The participating interest of the British side is 51 percent and of the Bulgarian, 49 percent. The British partner participates mainly with investments and the Bulgarian with machines and equipment.
A new bottling workshop was set into operation in the Vinal plant for wine production based in Lovech (Central Bulgaria), the plant's manager Ivan Merdjanov said. The plant plans to export five million bottles of wine to Russia by the year's end. Eight varieties of white, red, dry and semi-dry wines will be bottled in the new workshop.
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