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News from Bulgaria, 96-07-12

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Embassy of Bulgaria <bulgaria@access1.digex.net>


EMBASSY OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.

BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY

12 July, 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] BULGARIA MOURNS DEATH OF THREE MPS
  • [02] BULGARIAN DELEGATION ATTENDS NEO-COCOM SESSION
  • [03] NATO GENERAL MCKENZIE ARRIVES IN BULGARIA
  • [04] PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN BACK FROM BRUSSELS
  • [05] HANS-DIETRICH GENSCHER: E.U. WOULD BE INCOMPLETE WITHOUT BULGARIA
  • [06] LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC UNION SET UP
  • [07] BULGARIAN WEEK IN BAHRAIN
  • [08] BULGARIAN INFANTRYMEN TO TAKE PAR IN PEACEFUL EAGLE '96, OPEN SKIES FLIGHTS AUTHORIZED
  • [09] BULGARIA AMONG COUNTRIES WITH HIGH DEATH RATE IN EUROPE
  • [10] BUSINESS PRESS
  • [11] SPEECH OF MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS PIRINSKI AT THE SOFIA CONFERENCE (JULY 6 - 7)

  • [01] BULGARIA MOURNS DEATH OF THREE MPS

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - Bulgaria is shocked by the death of three MPs of the Democratic Left. Emiliya Tomova, Roumyana Nikolova and Maria Zaharieva were killed in a road accident yesterday when the car they were travelling in collided with a Lada on the wet road near Lovech (North Central Bulgaria). They were going to Veliko Turnovo for celebrations of the 5th anniversary of Bulgaria's new Constitution and the opening of Minister Pirinski's campaign as a presidential candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

    According to latest official reports, unreasonable speed of parliamentary car and the slippery road are the causes for the accident. The Lada driver was also killed in the crash. The two women and the two children who were in his car are at hospital but not in critical condition.

    Meeting briefly this morning, the National Assembly declared a three-day parliamentary mourning. The Cabinet put off its sittings until the end of the week. The celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Constitution, was also postponed. The bodies were on view in Sofia today for people to pay their last respects. Among those attending were President Zhelyu Zhelev, National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov who has returned from Brussels earlier today, all cabinet ministers and MPs of all parliamentary factions. The three MPs will be buried on Friday.

    [02] BULGARIAN DELEGATION ATTENDS NEO-COCOM SESSION

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - A Bulgarian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Irina Bokova today left for Vienna to participate in the renewed plenary session of the Wasenaar Agreement known also as Neo-COCOM, said the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

    The forum was expected to consider among other things, Bulgaria's membership candidacy. With its participation in this session Bulgaria became one of the founders of Neo-COCOM. This is a recognition of Bulgaria's persistent policy of improving the national legislation and export control mechanisms, as well as for its full compliance with the membership requirements of Neo-Cocom, the Foreign Ministry said.

    [03] NATO GENERAL MCKENZIE ARRIVES IN BULGARIA

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Sir Jeremy McKenzie arrived in Sofia this evening at the invitation of Chief of the Bulgarian General Staff Colonel General Tsvetan Totomirov.

    This is my first visit to Bulgaria and I am very pleased to be able to meet with my Bulgarian colleagues, General McKenzie said upon his arrival at Sofia Airport. Speaking about the schedule of his visit, the General said that he will discuss aspects of the Partnership for Peace programme and will review the recent PfP military exercise conducted in Bulgaria.

    We shall assess the progress of the Partnership for Peace initiative, General Totomirov told the press. The officials will also outline new activities of Bulgaria's participation in the programme, General Totomirov said.

    [04] PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN BACK FROM BRUSSELS

    Sofia, July 1 (BTA) - National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov today returned from Brussels where he attended the third meeting of the heads of parliament of the EU Associated Countries. He said participants paid particular attention to the price which the Associated Countries must pay for their accession to the EU. Economic analyses show that the sooner the ten countries are admitted, the most expensive this will be, Academician Sendov stressed. This is precisely why the EU member states will seek to strike a balance between political desire for early accession and economic possibilities, he added.

    Mr Sendov said that the meeting was also attended by EU External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek, who briefed the participants on the latest discussions on building a European security model. A report on the economic development and human rights record of the Associated Countries, delivered at the meeting, will be presented at the EU Intergovernmental Conference. Asked by Mr Sendov about his assessment of regional initiatives and specifically of the recent Balkan Conference in Sofia, Mr van den Broek said he sees them as an element of the joint building of cooperation on the continent, bearing in mind that they are all Europe-oriented.

    [05] HANS-DIETRICH GENSCHER: E.U. WOULD BE INCOMPLETE WITHOUT BULGARIA

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - As soon as possible, the European Union must set a date for the simultaneous start of negotiations with the Associated Countries on full membership. The date should be January 1, 1998. These ideas were promoted by Hans-Dietrich Genscher here today as he met with Bulgarian politicians and reporters. The former German foreign minister and vice chancellor is on a two-day visit to Bulgaria. In his view, the EU should also make clear the procedural aspects of accession. Starting negotiations by groups would be tantamount to a new division, which would be unreasonable and wrong. By fixing a date the European Union will show that there is light at the end of the tunnel, Mr Genscher said.

    Simultaneous beginning of talks with all countries does not imply simultaneous end, but the prospects should be the same for all, he added. The EU would be incomplete without Bulgaria, he stressed to reporters. We hope that Bulgaria will conduct a reform policy as required by the international financial institutions, the guest said, meeting MPs of different political forces. Even if it does not join NATO, Bulgaria may become a EU member, he told the press.

    The guest praised the Conference on Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe, which was held in Sofia earlier this month. I believe that what matters most is for the EU to assume its responsibility for the former Yugoslav republics as well. After the establishment of peace, a way to the EU should open for the successor states of former Yugoslavia. Initiatives like the foreign ministers' meeting in Sofia are particularly important before such a U-turn, Mr Genscher told reporters.

    The German politician today delivered the keynote lecture at an international seminar on Bulgaria in Europe, organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. Yesterday he met with National Assembly Deputy Chair Nora Ananieva and representatives of the liberal political circles.

    Earlier in the day, Mr Genscher conferred with Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova on developments in Europe and the enlargement of the European Union. Mr Genscher was also received by Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov and had talks with opposition presidential candidate Peter Stoyanov.

    [06] LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC UNION SET UP

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - Three political formations without a parliamentary presence set up today a Liberal Democratic Union. The founders - New Choice, the Radical Democratic Party and New Democracy - are all former members of Bulgaria's major opposition force, the Union of Democratic Forces. It remains unclear how the Liberal Democratic Union (LDU) will behave during the presidential elections this autumn. From the first statements of its leaders, it seams likely that it will support the Peter Stoyanov - Peter Kavaldjiev presidential tandem of the opposition.

    Summing up the objectives of the new organization, one of the LDU leaders, Ivan Poushakrov said it seeks to establish the liberal model as the only choice in the transition period. LDU will start active political work early this autumn, when the presidential election is due. The three member parties will keep their political identities and will take joint decisions on the basis of parity and consensus, said Kiril Boyadjiev. A Political Council of LDU was appointed as an interim body; the adoption of programme documents has yet to be done.

    [07] BULGARIAN WEEK IN BAHRAIN

    Manama, July 11 (BTA) - The Bulgaria and Bulgarian Tourism Week in Bahrain ended. It was opened on July 3 by the President of the Bulgarian Committee of Tourism Vassil Velev and the Deputy Minister for Tourism in the Ministry of Information Kadem Rajeb. The event was organzed by the Beisan Hotel, Balkan Holidays, the Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, Hotel Sandanski and the Albena Resort. Bulgarian, Bahraini and Saudi travel agents held a number of meetings.

    Mr Velev conferred with Mr Rajeb on the opportunities for development of two-way tourism and possible Bahraini investments in the Bulgarian resorts and reached agreement on the signing of a protocol on cooperation in tourism. The hosts told Bulgarian travel agents that there is interest in the Bulgarian resorts but publicity must be activated. More than a thousand people from Bahrain and the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia have spent their winter or summer vacation in Bulgaria during the last two years.

    [08] BULGARIAN INFANTRYMEN TO TAKE PAR IN PEACEFUL EAGLE '96, OPEN SKIES FLIGHTS AUTHORIZED

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - The National Assembly today passed a resolution authorizing the participation of a Bulgarian infantry company of 70 rank and file and 10 commissioned officers in a ground exercise codenamed Peaceful Eange '96, which will be held in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace Programme in the area of Biza, Albania, from July 12 to 21, 1996. Taking part will be Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and the United States. By another resolution, Parliament authorized the conduct of training observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies, which was ratified by Bulgaria in February 1994. A Bulgarian warplane will overfly German territory in July, and a German warplane will overfly Bulgarian territory in August. The Bulgarian flight will involve 20 servicemen, and the German one 30.

    [09] BULGARIA AMONG COUNTRIES WITH HIGH DEATH RATE IN EUROPE

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - Bulgaria is among the countries with highest death rate in Europe, data of the National Statistical Institute announced today show. Cardiac diseases account for the highest number of deaths in Bulgaria. Last year, 63.3 per cent of the deaths were caused by such illnesses. With 4.8 per cent of deaths, injuries and poisoning emerge as the second major cause for death in Bulgaria. Respiratory and digestive diseases were the causes for 4.6 and 3.2 per cent of the deaths. Fewer people however die of respiratory diseases in Bulgaria than elsewhere in Europe: only 127 people who died of natural causes were diagnosed with respiratory diseases.

    [10] BUSINESS PRESS

    Sofia, July 11 (BTA) - The European Commission extends 9 million US dollars to Bulgaria on a project under the PHARE program. The project is designed to promote small and medium-sized business, Douma writes quoting the project director for Bulgaria Stamen Tassev. The money will be handled through the Industry Ministry, the National Bank of Bulgaria and three commercial banks, the Bulgarian Post Bank, the Central Cooperative Bank and Expressbank. The project was drawn up several years ago. So far 100 companies have applied for financing under the project. They are mainly in food-processing, tailoring and pulp and paper industries. The loan should be utilized by 2007.

    The Sea-Land US company will design and construct a railway terminal for the haulage of cargoes from Asia to Western Europe, 24 Chassa writes. The terminal will be a container one. It will handle the carriage of freights by rail from the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to Western Europe. The US-proposed project is a part of the Balkan transport centre. The US agency for foreign investments extended 2.5 million US dollars on the designing of the terminal.

    [11] SPEECH OF MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS PIRINSKI AT THE SOFIA CONFERENCE (JULY 6 - 7)

    (AS DELIVERED - UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION)

    Distinguished Colleagues,

    Heads of Delegations,

    Dear Guests,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Allow me also to express personally the satisfaction that we share with all participants in this meeting. The fact that today in Sofia we are discussing together the issues of good-neighbourliness, stability, security and co-operation in the Balkans is of major positive significance both for our region and for the whole of Europe, as well as for the international relations on a broader scale.

    Today we are discussing a set of initiatives and lines of multilateral co-operation between the countries of South-Eastern Europe that, as we believe, will enhance the gradual shaping of a qualitatively new situation in our region. A situation that will make it possible for our nations to live undisturbed in constructive good- neighbourliness and to achieve full-fledged integration in united Europe of the 21-st century. We have to consolidate a new culture of co-operation in the region. The need for this culture is imposed by the requirements of the integration and globalisation trends and by the necessity to safeguard the vital interests of our nations.

    These efforts will not be made in a vacuum, they have their pre- history. They are rooted in the rich experience of co-operation that exists in our bilateral relations, as well as in our joint action in Belgrade in 1988 and in Tirana in 1990. Those meetings of Foreign Ministers were venues for initiatives and proposals that are not only a valuable source of ideas, but still contain significant unused potential. In this context I would like to pay due tribute to all generations of politicians and diplomats, to all people that have contributed to the noble cause of mutual understanding in the Balkans.

    The prospects for multilateral co-operation between the countries of the region are determined by one common goal the full-fledged integration in Europe whose inseparable part the Balkans are. Guided by the European priorities of her foreign policy Bulgaria proposed to launch anew an open comprehensive process of regional co-operation.

    The countries of the region welcomed the initiatives both of the European Union and the United States, as well as of other countries concerning stability, good-neighbourliness and economic development in South-Eastern Europe. All these initiatives are complementary and mutually reinforcing. We expect the European Union to develop its own policy for the region in a similar way as for other regions in Europe. We suppose that this could be done in stages, the first being to carry out a comprehensive study followed by more decisive steps and programmes.

    Today we need mutually acceptable decisions that can only be adopted on the basis of balance and equal footing.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    The Declaration that is to be adopted in the end of our conference is rich in ideas, specific proposals and projects. It is the result of sustained joint efforts of all participants from the region of South- Eastern Europe. I will not repeat its content. But I would like to align myself with the understanding that stability and co-operation in our region can only be lasting and irreversible when all countries are entirely and fully integrated in the international community.

    I would rather outline some views of the Bulgarian Government on the practical implementation of the agreements reached in the Declaration as it is beyond any doubt that it should not remain a mere good wish or a dead letter.

    Therefore:

    FIRST, it is absolutely reasonable that in the draft of the Declaration we begin by the principles of good-neighbourliness which are clearly outlined in full accordance with the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter for a new Europe, and namely: sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty; refraining from threat or use of force; inviolability of frontiers; territorial integrity of States; peaceful settlement of disputes; non-intervention in internal affairs; respect for human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; equal rights and self-determination of peoples; co-operation among States; fulfilment in good faith of obligations under international law. These principles must become the firm foundation of all our relations. The latter must be the main concern of political directors of our countries who, as we agree, will meet on a regular basis - a sufficiently specific review of strict compliance with these principles.

    SECOND, security and its military and defence aspects. Bulgaria proposed to hold in Sofia a Balkan Meeting of Ministers of Defence, with the participation of other interested countries as well. We are of the opinion that this Meeting should become an important venue for discussing regional security architecture as integral part of the European and Euro-Atlantic security architecture. We see the way forward in the results registered in sub-regional arms control. The implementation of these agreements will open the perspective for broader regional efforts, fully taking into account the obligations already undertaken by the State-Parties to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

    THIRD, trans-regional co-operation. We are in favour of open frontiers with our neighbours. We have already started the implementation of projects, in the first place, for upgrading and improving individual border-crossing pointsR capacity which guarantees this openness. Free human contacts from both sides of the borders is as important, as defending their inviolability. We consider that it is of particular significance to obtain also, where applicable, the support of the European Union to this end, both technical and financial.

    FOURTH, co-operation on infrastructure, and especially - the Trans- Regional Centre for Transport Infrastructures. At the OSCE Seminar on the role of infrastructures for co-operation in the Black Sea region, held in Sofia last November, a conclusion was drawn on the need for a focal point for co-ordinating efforts. This need is stemming from the fact that four out of nine Trans-European corridors in Eastern Europe pass through the territory of the countries participating in this Meeting. Two days ago the Bulgarian Government approved the outline concept for the Trans-Regional Centre. We are confident that, through the support of all participants, this Centre will contribute to secure their interests in this field.

    FIFTH, trade and investment. We welcome the results of the round table on trade liberalisation, recently held under the auspices of the Association of Balkan Chambers of Commerce. That meeting adopted an important address, identifying the questions on which the Governments have to take decisive measures to eliminate barriers for trade and investment. The respective part of the Declaration will be the first response owed for a long time to the preoccupation of the business community concerning the resolving of these questions. In the follow-up to this Meeting we have to focus our attention on these issues. To this end we proposed and endorse the establishment of a Regional Centre for Trade Promotion.

    SIXTH, the humanitarian, social and cultural co-operation is also of great importance for restoring confidence and broadening horizons; it is in full harmony with our common desire to implement and guarantee the highest standards in respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The cultural heritage of our nations is a wealth, a propitious ground for more intensive exchange in the fields of culture, science and education. The free movement of information, people and ideas has a great unutilized potential. A broad spectrum of opportunities exists in the framework of the respective programmes of the Council of Europe, the EU and UNESCO as well.

    This year will mark the 100-th anniversary of the revival of the Olympic games. Two of the states in the region - Bulgaria and Greece were between the 14 participants in the first games in 1896 in Athens. This year, in February the eight National Olympic committees established their own association in Belgrade. In our view, full support should be given to its activities in compliance with the resolution of the 50-th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations for the Olympic movement and its great importance for the peace in the world.

    SEVENTH, the preparatory work for this meeting outlined one dimension more in our regional co-operation: justice, combat of organised crime, illicit trafficking and terrorism. The Bulgarian authorities consider as useful the establishment of contact networks and links between the competent institutions and the magistrates, as well as the mutual acquaintance with the provisions of the special legislations. We also suggest that a conference of the heads of the agencies in charge of drug combating should be held. And last but not least, I should like to draw the attention to the proposal of the Bulgarian minister of justice to convene a Balkan conference on combating terrorism.

    In conclusion, I would like to point out, that in the course of the preparation of this meeting a great number of proposals was made by different delegations. We are ready to host the meeting of the political directors, which would additionally examine and prepare them for implementation. We consider that these meetings as well as ministerial-level fora should become regular. At a latter stage we could come to a Balkan Summit.

    We are strongly convinced that the goals of the flexible and non- institutionalised process, the grounds of which we are laying today, are realistic and attainable. We are facing a historic window of opportunity that should not be missed. Let the Sofia Declaration and our meeting serve as a starting point in our joint endeavours.


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