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News from Bulgaria, 96-09-30

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

30 September, 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT ZHELEV ADDRESSES NATION
  • [02] BULGARIA GRANTED MOST FAVOURED NATION STATUS
  • [03] BULGARIA, U.S. SIGN TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION ACCORD
  • [04] FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINSKI IN NEW YORK
  • [05] MINISTER PIRINSKI ON BULGARIA'S PARTICIPATION IN 51ST U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • [06] BULGARIAN REPRESENTATIVE IN UN ABOUT NEED TO HELP THIRD COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY SANCTIONS
  • [07] CULTURE TO RECEIVE ECU 6 MILLION UNDER PHARE
  • [08] FINANCE MINISTER, CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO ATTEND ANNUAL MEETING OF I.M.F., WORLD BANK
  • [09] BULGARIAN FINANCIERS NEGOTIATE WITH I.M.F. IN WASHINGTON
  • [10] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER KONAKCHIEV BACK FROM WASHINGTON
  • [11] 49 COMPANIES WIN GOLD MEDALS AT INTERNATIONAL PLOVDIV FAIR
  • [12] INTERVIEW WITH PRIME MINISTER VIDENOV
  • [13] JAPANESE PRINCESS SAYAKO ARRIVES IN BULGARIA
  • [14] BULGARIA BACK TO STANDARD TIME

  • [01] PRESIDENT ZHELEV ADDRESSES NATION

    Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev today made an address to the nation. "Today I sent a message to the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus with the personal request for financial and moral support for the reforms in Bulgaria," said the President.

    "I made this step guided by a concern over the hopeless situation facing Bulgaria. As Head of State, I am deeply concerned that Bulgaria's relations with the international financial institutions have reached a critical point. The unprecedented crisis is the result of inaction of, and quasi-measures taken by the Government and Parliament over the past seven years. Unfortunately, my frequent appeals for immediate launch of the structural reform, stepped up privatization and stabilization of the financial system have got no political support to date. The delay and inaction over the past two years had fatal results," Dr. Zhelev went on to say.

    "Today we suffer the catastrophic results of a self-assuredness and rejection of dialogue with the public and international financial institutions on the part of the ruling. Thus, the price to be paid by the whole Bulgarian nation became intolerably high. Bulgaria was put down to its knees and it should ask for help that is vital for overcoming the crisis. The time for demagogy and lies has passed," said Dr. Zhelev whose term as President expires at the end of this year.

    "Therefore, together with by appeal to Mr Camdessus, I call upon the Bulgarian Government and Parliament to show to the nation a clear programme for overcoming the crisis, providing this time guarantees that they will start implementing it as soon as the coming days. Being a parliamentary republic, Bulgaria has all the power concentrated in Parliament and the Government it has elected. They have the whole responsibility for the evils suffered by the Bulgarian nation. The attempts of the Government and the parliamentary majority to pass over this responsibility to others is doomed to fail. The time has come to put an end to the conspiratory manner of taking decisions that are vital for the country, and the government must tell people clearly what is in store for them in the coming months, what to expect, how to get out of the crisis and when," said President Zhelev who increasingly often voices his views clashing those of the Socialist government.

    "In my capacity as Head of State, despite my constitutionally limited powers, I will back any step aimed at saving Bulgaria, and stake my international prestige and influence in the country. Whatever the external help, we can help ourselves best. Each one of us has a responsibility when we choose who will govern us," said also Dr Zhelev.

    [02] BULGARIA GRANTED MOST FAVOURED NATION STATUS

    Sofia, September 28 (BTA) - US President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation on the granting of permanent most favoured nation status in trade to Bulgaria, a fax which BTA received from the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington says. The permanent most favoured nation status becomes effective on the date of publishing the decision in the US Federal Register.

    The document president Clinton signed also states that Bulgaria has made enough or reciprocal concessions to lower the customs and other barriers to American-Bulgarian trade.

    In March 1996 the US House of Representatives voted for granting Bulgaria the status of most favoured nation in trade. In July the US President signed a bill to free Bulgaria permanently from the limitations of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The most favoured nation status guarantees that Bulgaria will not be discriminated in trade, the Bulgarian Embassy says.

    [03] BULGARIA, U.S. SIGN TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION ACCORD

    Sofia, September 27 (Vanya Ivanova of BTA) - Bulgarian Minister of Economic Development Roumen Gechev and Sofia-based US Ambassador Avis Bohlen today signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in science and technology.

    "I am sure the agreement will boost the interest of US business circles in launching and developing joint businesses with Bulgaria. It comes at a moment when Parliament approved cabinet-sponsored initiatives aimed at improving the foreign investment climate in Bulgaria and stepping up cash privatization," said Gechev. Mrs Bohlen said the signing of the agreement is one of her first steps as US Ambassador to Bulgaria and she hopes it will provide a sound basis for promoting bilateral cooperation in science and technology.

    The document envisages cooperation in fundamental sciences, environmental protection, medicine, health services, agriculture, engineering, transport and standardization. The agreement Bulgaria and the US signed today is the latest in a series of document of the last two years aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation in the economy, science and technology. An agreement on reciprocal protection and promotion of investment between the two countries is effective as of 1994. Again in 1994, an agreement was signed on US grant aid to the amount of USD 700,000 to be used for upgrading Power Units Five and Six of the Kozlodoui Nuclear Power Plant, on the Danube. A Bulgarian - US agreement of 1994 on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy took effect last March.

    The Bulgarian Minister and the US diplomat discussed the progress of reforms in this country. Mrs Bohlen was particularly interested in the measures for rehabilitation of banks and the changes in the banking sector (earlier this week the central bank placed nine commercial banks under special supervision), said the government's press office.

    Mrs Bohlen hailed the amendments to the foreign investment legislation and the decision to step up cash privatization. At a joint sitting with MPs of the ruling Democratic Left coalition, parliamentary group chiefs and district governors last week, the government approved a programme for speedy cash privatization of major state-owned enterprises. Earlier this week the Parliament approved at first reading a government motion for liberalizing a low on foreign investment. The US Ambassador believes these measures are sure to make Bulgaria more attractive to foreign investors.

    [04] FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINSKI IN NEW YORK

    United Nations, New York, September 27 (BTA) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski today met his Ukrainian counterpart Genady Udovenko within the framework of the 51st session of the United Nations General Assembly. The two discussed bilateral economic and political relations and the development of transport infrastructure in the spirit of cooperation between the two countries' Foreign Ministries.

    Georgi Pirinski also met Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Vellayati. The sides underscored the need for promoting bilateral relations, particularly those in the business and economic sphere. Ali Akbar Vellayati reiterated an invitation to Georgi Pirinski to visit Iran at his convenience, said the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

    The Bulgarian Foreign Minister also met his Albanian and Syrian counterparts. Georgi Pirinski and Albanian Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu agreed that two countries must take special effort to activate bilateral relations. They agreed to hold a meeting at top ministerial level to discuss trade and investment. The sides stressed the two countries' readiness to further the joint efforts for promoting regional stability and Balkan economic and infrastructure cooperation.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Faruk al-Shara and his Bulgarian counterpart exchanged information and views on the state of bilateral relations and the opportunities for their further development. They agreed on the need to restore the Middle east peace process and prevent new escalation of tension and confrontation.

    The Bulgarian Foreign Minister also had a brief meeting with Cyprian Foreign Minister Alexandros Michaelidis. The sides considered the timing of a visit to Bulgaria in the coming months by the Cyprian Foreign Minister in return for a visit Pirinski paid to Cyprus last spring, said the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

    [05] MINISTER PIRINSKI ON BULGARIA'S PARTICIPATION IN 51ST U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

    Sofia, September 29 (BTA) - "There are four key points I am going to make in my address to the 51st Session of the United Nations General Assembly; being the priorities of Bulgaria's foreign policy today, they include: efforts to promote goodneighbourly relations, to advance economic, infrastructure cooperation and to fight crime, drug trafficking and terrorism," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski said in a telephone interview for National Radio today. Pirinski left for New York at the beginning of this week at the head of Bulgaria's delegation to the 51st Session of the UN General Assembly.

    Foreign Minister Pirinski recalled that the four key points in the Bulgarian foreign policy were laid down in the Sofia declaration adopted by the meeting of the Balkan foreign ministers held here in July 1996. In Pirinski's words, these problems form the core of discussions at the present session of the UN General Assembly, treated in view of the measures to counter new threats to global peace and security, arising as a sequence of new regional inter-ethnic conflicts.

    The Bulgarian Foreign Minister pointed out that after his talks with Macedonia's Foreign Minister Lyubomir Frckovski, he is optimistic about the development of Bulgarian-Macedonian relations. The work on a declaration on goodneighbourly relations and cooperation between Bulgaria and Macedonia will start within few days, in parallel to the activation of efforts to liberalize and encourage bilateral trade by making additional arrangements. "At the same time we will continue the efforts to 'untie' those 'knots', to resolve those problems that have hindered the efforts to provide cooperation with a legal framework so far," Pirinski said. "One of this problems is the language the documents should be written in," he specified.

    Commenting on his meetings with diplomats and statesmen in New York, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister pointed out the definite interest in finding ways to interact with Bulgaria in different projects for inter-regional cooperation in transport and other fields. "Another point we make both at the present session and at all bilateral meetings is the need to resolve the problem of compensating Bulgaria for its losses ensuing from the observation of sanctions against belligerent countries and to create more efficient mechanisms for providing such compensations as part of the reform carried out at the United Nations," Pirinski said.

    This week Foreign Minister Pirinski met separately with European Union Commissioner Hans van den Broek; Paddey MacKernon, secretary of political affairs at the Irish Foreign Ministry representing Ireland as the country holding the presidency of the European Union; Richard Schifter, adviser at the US National Security Council; Maris Rikstinsh, State Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Latvia; Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos; Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes y Juan; and Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina Gonzales.

    [06] BULGARIAN REPRESENTATIVE IN UN ABOUT NEED TO HELP THIRD COUNTRIES AFFECTED BY SANCTIONS

    Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Georgi Dimitrov, chief of the International Organizations Department of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, addressed the sixth committee of the UN General Assembly which is debating the report of the special committee on the UN Charter and strengthening the organization's role, the Foreign Ministry's Information Department said.

    He emphasized the large losses sustained by Bulgaria as a result of the strict implementation of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, and motivated the need for the sixth committee and the special committee on the UN Charter to continue the work on provisions related to rendering assistance to third countries affected by sanctions, the press release said. Dimitrov also formulated specific proposals about possible guidelines for further work on these problems. The Bulgarian representative stressed that the UN's effectiveness in maintaining international peace and security largely depends on the organization's ability to respond to the economic problems of third countries affected by sanctions.

    [07] CULTURE TO RECEIVE ECU 6 MILLION UNDER PHARE

    Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Bulgaria is the first of the EU- associated states to receive ECU 6 million in support of its culture under the PHARE programme, the Ministry of Culture said. The money will be released for the period 1996-1999 with the first tranche of ECU 2 million expected already this year and the next two tranches - in 1998 and 1999. The first tranche has been planned to be used for the establishment of a Euro-Bulgarian cultural centre comprising the book-shop, the cinema hall and the exhibition of the Ministry of Culture. The funds will be used for the updating of these establishments. In addition to Bulgarian literature, the bookshop will also sell books on the languages of the European community.

    The programme will provide training and retraining opportunities for culture managers. An Euro-Bulgarian fund has been planned to be set up in support of the arts. The fund will also ensure financial assistance for culture projects in theatre, music, cinema and other fields. Private culture organisations, private persons and non- governmental organisation will be eligible to apply for the support.

    [08] FINANCE MINISTER, CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO ATTEND ANNUAL MEETING OF I.M.F., WORLD BANK

    Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Central Bank Governor Lyubomir Filipov departed for Washington D.C. today. Filipov will join the Bulgarian delegation headed by Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov to the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

    During sideline meetings, members of the Bulgarian delegation will familiarize senior officials of the IMF and the World Bank with the package of measures on banking rehabilitation approved by the Bulgarian central bank and this country's Cabinet's new privatization projects. According to preliminary information, the Bulgarian delegation will be received by World Bank Managing Director Caio Koch-Weser and IMF Deputy Director Stanley Fisher.

    Kostov arrived in Washington on September 25. In a series of preliminary meetings with representatives of the two financial institutions the Bulgarian Finance Minister will discuss the implementation of the measures Bulgaria pledged to take to get loans to support this country's structural reform and balance of payments.

    [09] BULGARIAN FINANCIERS NEGOTIATE WITH I.M.F. IN WASHINGTON

    Sofia, September 29 (BTA) - A Bulgarian delegation led by Minister of Finance Dimiter Kostov and National Bank of Bulgaria Governor Lyubomir Filipov are negotiating on the second tranche of a standby loan for Bulgaria with International Monetary Fund officials in Washington. The delegation is in the United States for the annual meeting of the IMF. Next week the Executive Director of the Privatization Agency, Vesselin Blagoev, will join the negotiators, a reporter of the "Pari" financial news paper in Washington said in the central news on national television this evening.

    In July this year Bulgaria concluded a fourth standby agreement with the IMF on a 580 million US dollars loan. The first tranche of over 100 million dollars was received at the end of July.

    [10] DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER KONAKCHIEV BACK FROM WASHINGTON

    Sofia, September 28 (BTA) - "The representatives of financial institutions I met in Washington assessed in positive terms the measures implemented by the Government and the National Bank of Bulgaria in the past week." Doncho Konakchiev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional development and Construction, told a news conference at returning from Washington today. There he attended the 5th World Congress on Economic Development, presenting a report on water problems.

    Konakchiev had two meetings with World Bank officials and one with Anne McGuirk, International Monetary Fund Mission Leader for Bulgaria. "The World Bank agreed to consult the Bulgarian Government on the strategic deal for the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC)," Konakchiev said. "The sale deal involves a complicated procedure and requires a number of institutions to assume certain commitments, but the Government intends to proceed with the deal in October," he went on to say.

    Expressing his personal view, Konakchiev said that the BTC sale is a unique deal, based on the principle of competition among several investors. "This will be the stand of the Government too," he added.

    Konakchiev specified that the so-called water loan which Bulgaria expects to receive from the World Bank would be finalized sooner than similar arrangements with other countries. "Given that Bulgaria is a small country, the amount of nearly 100 million dollars is rather large, that is why we are going to utilize it by stages," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

    [11] 49 COMPANIES WIN GOLD MEDALS AT INTERNATIONAL PLOVDIV FAIR

    Sofia, September 27 (BTA) - Forty-nine companies - 31 Bulgarian and 18 foreign ones - won gold medals at the 52nd International Technical Fair in Plovdiv, Southern Bulgaria. Participating were 1,624 companies of 38 countries, including 775 Bulgarian.

    Statistics shows that 52% of Bulgarian exhibitors have established contacts with new partners and 70% of all participants displayed their latest production. Nearly half of Bulgarian participants believe that the major factor for their business success is the personnel's high qualification and their state-of-the-art equipment, according to the findings of a Gallup International poll released today by Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Atanas Paparizov at the Plovdiv Fair's final news conference.

    [12] INTERVIEW WITH PRIME MINISTER VIDENOV

    Sofia, september 28 (BTA) - "The banking system is a serious problem," Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said in an interview for the More programme of the Television Centre in Varna (on the northern Black Sea coast). In his view, the measures implemented by the National Bank of Bulgaria (raising the base interest rate from 108 to 300 percent and placing nine banks in trouble under special supervision) are just the necessary ones. "This will leave a certain number of state-owned and private banks which are perfectly stable, enjoy the support of the central bank and form the basis of restoring the financial stability of the country," Videnov said.

    "The Government will strive to restore the country's financial stability and to continue the normal servicing of the external debt and the internal debt which weighs heavily on the Bulgarian economy. This should not be achieved at the cost of hyperinflation and destruction of the country's social, economic and political system, because in this way Bulgaria will be thrown tens of years back," the Prime Minister said in reply to the question what the Cabinet could be expected to do in the next weeks and months. According to Videnov, for this purpose the society should be mobilized, though at the expense of certain hardships, activating first of all the large national potential of resources in industry and privatization.

    [13] JAPANESE PRINCESS SAYAKO ARRIVES IN BULGARIA

    Sofia, September 29 (BTA) - Japanese Princess Sayako arrived in Bulgaria today. The visit is at the invitation of the Bulgarian Government. Princess Sayako is in Bulgaria in connection with the opening of the Season of Japanese Culture in Bulgaria. The Japanese Embassy in Sofia described the Princess's visit as an expression of good will in the relations between the two countries.

    The Princess came on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, accompanied by 14 Japanese journalists. Arriving at the airport for government officials, Princess Sayako was directly taken to the Boyana Residence where Prime Minister Zhan Videnov is giving a state dinner in her honour.

    During her stay Princess Sayako will meet President Zhelyu Zhelev and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov. She will visit the National Museum of History, the Rhythmic Gymnastics Centre and the Japanese Language Department with the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Tomorrow she will open the Season of Japanese Culture with a special tea ceremony at Sofia's Intercontinental Hotel. Visits to Veliko Turnovo (Central Bulgaria) and the Rila Monastery (Southwestern Bulgaria) are also on her programme.

    [14] BULGARIA BACK TO STANDARD TIME

    Sofia, September 28 (BTA) - Today Bulgaria goes back from Daylight Saving to Standard Time. At 24:00 hrs local time all clocks will be moved one hour back.

    Balkan Airlines announced that until October 26, 1996 all its aircraft will take off and land one hour earlier than specified in the timetable.


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