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News from Bulgaria, 96-09-11

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

September 11, 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT LILIC RECEIVES NEW BULGARIAN ENVOY
  • [02] DELOITTE & TOUCHE TO AUDIT CENTRAL BANK
  • [03] SOCIALIST LEADERS DISCUSS LEFT'S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
  • [04] OVER 100 BULGARIAN COMPANIES TO TAKE PART IN BUSINESS FORUM IN GENOA
  • [05] WILL EUROPE STORE ITS GAS IN BULGARIA?
  • [06] NEW LIBERAL FORMATION CENTERED AROUND ZHELEV
  • [07] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS MOVEMENT FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR STOYANOV/KAVALDJIEV TICKET (1)
  • [08] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS MOVEMENT FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR STOYANOV/KAVALDJIEV TICKET (2)
  • [09] "JEWISH COMMUNITIES" EXHIBITION
  • [10] MILITARY COUNCIL WITH BULGARIAN ARMY'S GENERAL STAFF COMMENDS REFORMS IN ARMY

  • [01] YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT LILIC RECEIVES NEW BULGARIAN ENVOY

    Belgrade, September 10 (BTA correspondent Lyudmil Mitakev) - The President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zoran Lilic today received the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria in Belgrade Filip Ishpekov, who presented his letters of credence. In a conversation after the ceremony, Mr Lilic commended highly Bulgaria's position of active neutrality during the Yugoconflict. He stressed his country's desire for further promotion of comprehensive contacts with Bulgaria, especially in the economic field. Filip Ishpekov, 67, is a career diplomat whose previous postings include Washington and Libya. He assessed in positive terms the progress of cooperation so far and stressed the need of invigoration of bilateral economic ties. In his view, confidence between the two countries will deepen with the signing of two documents which are being drafted: a Treaty of Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation and a Treaty on Confidence-Building in the Military Field. In this connection, he stressed the need to remove certain irritants of the still better Bulgarian-Yugoslav relations which are well known in both Sofia and Belgrade, within the framework of European criteria of bilateral cooperation.

    [02] DELOITTE & TOUCHE TO AUDIT CENTRAL BANK

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - The Deloitte & Touche consultants have been picked to conduct an international audit of the National Bank of Bulgaria (BNB), it emerged after today's meeting of the BNB Plenary Council. The firm was selected because its offer was most acceptable in all terms and because of its ample experience in central bank auditing, participants in the meeting commented. "We expect the Deloitte & Touche experts to start work on September 16," said Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov. The other bidders in the audit tender were Arthur Andersen, Price Waterhouse, KPMG and BDO Binder. The participants in the meeting declined to comment on the price of the service. In international practice, central bank auditing costs between 25,000 and 1,350,000 US dollars, a BNB official said. In his view, the price that Deloitte & Touche asked was not high. Under a National Assembly resolution of June 28, the BNB audit is to be completed by October 31.

    [03] SOCIALIST LEADERS DISCUSS LEFT'S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - Social insurance reform, the judiciary, the economy and administration are the four spheres in which the parliamentary group of the ruling Democratic Left will show initiative, MP Mariela Miteva told a news conference. These priorities were discussed today by the Executive Bureau of the Supreme Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

    Bills on voluntary social insurance, pensions and the unemployed are some of the Left's priorities concerning the social insurance system. The judiciary reform programme will be discussed during Parliament's autumn session. The Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure will be amended so as to speed up legal proceedings.

    The progress of economic reform will be ensured by the passage of laws on a debt-collection agency and the State Savings Bank, amendments to the Privatization Act, and a new foreign investment law, to mention only a few. The Democratic Left will table Bills on civil servants and the strengthening of statehood to support administrative reform.

    The Socialist Party will propose that the 50th anniversary of Bulgaria's proclamation as a republic be celebrated nationwide on September 15, said BSP Spokesperson Klara Marinova. The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a rally and a concert. The BSP will propose that the anniversary be marked in Parliament on Friday in the presence of the head of state, representatives of extraparliamentary republican organizations and ambassadors.

    [04] OVER 100 BULGARIAN COMPANIES TO TAKE PART IN BUSINESS FORUM IN GENOA

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - More than 100 Bulgarian small and medium-sized companies from the textile industry, food-processing, printing industry, glass-working, metal-working, electronic industry and others will be presented at this year's business meeting in Genoa, Vassil Djarov, President of the Infocentre consultants with the Industrial Association in Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria) said. The forum will be held on November 27 - 29 in the framework of the European Union's programme Europartenariat for encouragement of small and medium-sized businesses. Some 2,000-3,000 companies from 70 countries in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, North and South America are expected to take part in this year's fair. Infocentre of Plovdiv is the second Eastern European company, following a Polish company in 1992, to act as consultant on the programme.

    The Italian Ambassador in Bulgaria will cooperate personally so that the Bulgarian companies can make good presentation and be given visa preferences, Flavio Burlizzi of the Italian company Mondipressa, which is working on the Europartenariat programme, said today.

    The Bulgarian representatives will receive special financial assistance under the PHARE programme. We got the approval of the European Commission for granting support to the Bulgarian businessmen this year too, so that they could take part in the business forum in Genoa, Richard Minns, representative of the EURADA organisation, a consultant on the PHARE programme for support of the medium and small businesses in Central and Eastern Europe said. The regional centres for development and support to the medium-sized and small business in Smolian (Southern Bulgaria) and Bourgas (the southern Black Sea coast) are the first two Bulgarian associate members to EURADA, Mr Minns also said. There are projects for the establishment of another two regional centres of that kind in Rousse (on the Danube) and in Plovdiv (southern Bulgaria).

    Bulgarian companies first took part in a Europartenariat business forum in Thessaloniki in 1992 (the events have been organised since 1988). Since then some 700-800 representatives of Bulgarian medium and small businesses have taken part in a total of eight events. About 10 per cent of the contacts established in the events have led to the signing of contracts for the setting up of joint ventures, for granting technical and consultant's assistance, for cooperation in manufacture, trade, marketing, subcontracts etc.

    On February 20 and 21, 1997 a meeting of businessmen from the small and medium-sized businesses under a European programme similar to Europartenariat will be held in Moscow. Infocentre has already started filing in candidates to take part in that forum, Vassil Djarov said today.

    [05] WILL EUROPE STORE ITS GAS IN BULGARIA?

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - Europe may store its gas in Bulgaria if the Balkan countries agree to cooperate in the transmission and use of natural gas. This was announced at the end of a two-day Balkan Gas Conference here today by Galina Ivanova of the Bulgarian-Russian joint venture Topenergy. The conference was attended by companies of the Balkan countries, Russia and Ukraine. Topenergy is one of the principal sponsors and organizers of the event, along with Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek companies and organizations. Mrs Ivanova recalled the factors which, according to representatives of Bulgarian gas companies, make this country suitable for the construction of gas storages.

    Under an agreement reached at the forum an expert group is starting work here today to draw the first regional map of oil and gas operations in the Balkans, "Daily News" learned from Valentin Kunev, Executive Director of the Balkan and Black Sea Petroleum Association, one of the forum's organizers. The map will be ready by the year's end, he said.

    Unlike its predecessor, the Energy Committee, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources is keenly interested in the opportunities offered by the future gasification of industry and homes in Bulgaria, said Nikolai Milev of the PHARE Energy Programme Coordination Unit. Within two weeks the Ministry will draft a proposal on this matter which is likely to be approved by PHARE, he said.

    Many delegates said that Bulgaria should solve a number of legal and technical problems if it is to take part in the drawing up of gasification projects in line with European standards. Ukraine is mostly interested in projects for transmission of Russian gas across Bulgaria because the pipelines will cross Ukraine, attendees from that country told "Daily News". Ukraine will continue to take part in their design.

    Geographical information systems for database management in pipeline design were presented today by Evgenia Karadjova of Bulgaria's GIS Invest. Andrei Shabarov of St Petersburg's Institute of Mine Surveying presented research on regional geodynamics using special methods studying dangerous crevices. A Daniel Industries official gave an outline of the reconstruction and modernization of gas metering stations.

    A working meeting on the development of infrastructure for use of natural gas will be held in Sofia on September 25. It will help local companies find partners in the European Union, "Daily News" learned from a knowledgeable source. Reports will be made on the implementation of the EU THERMIE programme, which promotes new technologies in the energy sector. The Energy Ministry, Bulgargas and the Committee of Metrology and Standardization will organize a conference on gas metering in industry and households on October 1-2.

    [06] NEW LIBERAL FORMATION CENTERED AROUND ZHELEV

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - A new political formation styling itself the Liberal Democratic Union will be set up by the end of September, it emerged from a series of meetings held by President Zhelyu Zhelev today.

    The New Democracy Party, set up by defectors from the parliamentary Bulgarian Business Block, the Radical Democratic Party outside the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), and the New Choice Union expressed support for the initiative at meetings with Zhelev today. A draft statute and organizational issues will be discussed on Thursday.

    "We have no differences on the main principles and the way the Liberal Democratic Union will be set up," said New Choice leader Dimiter Loudjev after the meeting. He was deputy prime minister of Dimiter Popov's cabinet in 1991 and defence minister of the UDF cabinet in 1991-92. Loudjev said the founders may sign a preliminary political agreement later this month. At his meetings today President Zhelev discussed the need for the new formation to propose what Loudjev called a "liberal reform programme". It will have two components: measures to check the decline and measures intended to revive "the spirit of 1991-92 reforms".

    The new formation should resolutely enter Parliament, Zhelev told a news conference after the meetings. The Union will commit itself to strong presidential power, he stressed. Its law-making priorities will include amending the Electoral Law so as to have equal numbers of MPs elected by a majority vote and on party lists which, according to Zhelev, will inject new blood in the political elite.

    At a meeting with UDF leader Ivan Kostov on Monday Zhelev voiced disapproval of the UDF's failure to react to all presidential initiatives criticized in the media linked with the Socialist Party. Zhelev singled out his initiatives for public committees on land restitution, his veto of certain Acts of Parliament and his statement on the rift which has started in the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. No one in the UDF should think the other democratic forces are there to serve them, said Zhelev.

    President Zhelev has not tried to dissuade Reneta Indjova from running for President but has told her it would be a pity if she failed for the second time. Indjova ran for Sofia Mayor in late 1995. Zhelev said none of the parties in the new liberal formation would support Indjova in the presidential elections.

    On Thursday the founders of the Liberal Union will discuss their stance on the presidential elections and the single opposition candidate.

    [07] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS MOVEMENT FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR STOYANOV/KAVALDJIEV TICKET (1)

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - "The [mainly ethnic Turks'] Movement for Rights and Freedoms (M singled out his initiatives for public committees on land restitution, his veto of certain Acts of Parliament and his statement on the rift which has started in the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. No one in the UDF should think the other democratic forces are there to serve them, said Zhelev.

    President Zhelev has not tried to dissuade Reneta Indjova from running for President but has told her it would be a pity if she failed for the second time. Indjova ran for Sofia Mayor in late 1995. Zhelev said none of the parties in the new liberal formation would support Indjova in the presidential elections.

    On Thursday the founders of the Liberal Union will discuss their stance on the presidential elections and the single opposition candidate.

    [08] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS MOVEMENT FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR STOYANOV/KAVALDJIEV TICKET (2)

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - "The [mainly ethnic Turks'] Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) calls on all Bulgarian citizens to mobilize fully and give unqualified support to the candidates of the United Democratic Forces, Peter Stoyanov for president and Todor Kavaldjiev for vice president," reads a declaration adopted by the MRF Central Council and Parliamentary Group today. "As far as the actual political configuration is concerned, Reneta Indjova's expectations will not match reality, as an independent candidate right now is such an amorphous phenomenon that it will not be worth either the effort or the expectations," MRF leader Ahmed Dogan told reporters. In his view, a political situation like the present one, with presidential candidates nominated by party coalitions, will hardly leave room for independent candidates. MRF will ask the Political Council of the United Democratic Forces to meet within two days to coordinate the logistics of the election campaign, Mr Dogan said. MRF's policy-making Central Council decided to call the Movement's Third National Conference from November 31 to December 1, Mr Dogan said. The conference was scheduled for after the presidential elections so that the entire team of MRF could work for their organization, Mr Dogan said.

    [09] "JEWISH COMMUNITIES" EXHIBITION

    Sofia, September 10 (BTA) - Previously unexhibited documents, photos, books, synagogue plate and other artefacts of the settlement of Jews in the Balkans and the establishment of Jewish communities in the Bulgarian lands went on display at the museum of the Sofia Central Synagogue today. The exhibits include an "Exegesis of the Babylonian Talmud" of 1794 by medieval philosopher Maimonid, original scrolls of the Pentateuch dated to the 18th c., a replica of a 2nd c. memorial inscription of Archsynagogus Yozes (Yossef) from Oeskus (now the village of Gigen near Pleven), which bears witness to the establishment of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the Bulgarian lands, photos of an inscription on 2nd-3rd c. columns telling about the settlement of Jews in Nicopolis ad Istrum, and photos of a 3rd c. synagogue mosaic found in Philippopolis (Plovdiv). Between 1932 and 1949, there were 31 Jewish communities in Bulgaria, the largest ones being in Sofia, Plovdiv, Nikopol, Rousse, Vidin and Varna. Their life is documented at the exhibition. The show is organized by the Israeli Embassy in Sofia and the Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria.

    [10] MILITARY COUNCIL WITH BULGARIAN ARMY'S GENERAL STAFF COMMENDS REFORMS IN ARMY

    Sofia, December 10 (BTA) - Analysis and report on the training of the Bulgarian army in 1996 were made at today's extended meeting of the General Staff's military council. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Dimiter Pavlov, Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security Lyuben Petrov, chief of the President's Military Office Adjutant-General Stefan Dimitrov and deputy defence ministers.

    At a news conference after the event Chief of General Staff of the Bulgarian Army Colonel General Tsvetan Totomirov said that the meeting focused in particular on the improved performance of the command and control elements, the improvement of the operative, combat and mobilization readiness through the application of new training systems. The results from the inspections of the combat and mobilization readiness both in the General Staff and in the armed services and corps are good, General Totomirov said.

    At its today's meeting the Military Council estimated in positive terms the start of the reform in the armed forces. General Totomirov said that during the year the commands of the armed services were transformed into service staffs and that the land forces armies were transformed into army corps.

    Two to three times more activities on the combat training of the units were held in 1996 compared to 1995, General Totomirov said.

    Among the positive trends in the army are the marked decrease in the number of AWOLs. Unfortunately the number of accidents in the army has been sustained, the Chief of General Staff said.

    General Totomirov recalled that in 1996 Bulgaria hosted three military exercises in the framework of the Partnership for Peace initiative. Bulgarian army units took part in exercises in Romania, the US, Hungary, Albania, Ukraine, Austria and Germany. Bulgarian officers acted as observers in seven international exercises and took part in dozens of seminars, working meetings and conferences.

    The Chief of the General Staff said that all institutions and instances have shown understanding about the financial support of the army which will be taken into account in the drafting of the 1997 budget bill.


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