Bulgarian concern for Macedonia grows
There can be no military solution to the crisis in the Republic of Macedonia. Bulgaria is concerned both by the latest actions of the Macedonian terrorists and by the idea of declaring a state of war on the territory of its southwestern neighbor. Those are the basic conclusions of the meeting of the Security Council at the Council of Ministers, which were announced by Foreign Minister Nadežda Mikhaylova.
There is no Bulgarian connection in the 6 June incident with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski in which an unidentified person fired shots at his office window. Only the car registration was Bulgarian, Minister Mikhaylova said, citing information from Sofia and Skopje. Many Macedonians purchase cars in Bulgaria and do not change the license plates. In a period of crisis, there are always circles trying to destabilize the situation even more, she said about the incident.
A two-day informal meeting of southeastern European countries' defense ministers in Thessaloniki took place last week. Macedonian Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski made it clear that such an involvement of the Balkan peacekeeping forces in Macedonia is unacceptable at present. Among the participants in the conference were NATO, EU observers, Stability Pact Coordinator Bodo Hombach, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
After the end of the meeting, Bulgarian Defense Minister Boyko Noev said that "in the foreseeable future, the main problems in Europe will involve our western border. Therefore, these consultations along with the processes of consultations within the framework of NATO and other forums are very important."
Noev also said that the process of ministerial meetings is important, because it gathers together NATO member and candidate members and provides additional topics of discussion. Last, but not least, he stressed that the process is important because the United States participates in these meetings not only as a leader of NATO but also a state that has global responsibilities. "In our opinion, the United States should make a direct commitment to this process. Although we did not adopt a final document or a declaration that would have reflected different positions, I think that all my colleagues took into account this appeal."
Bulgarians abroad not able to vote
Between 150,000 and 200,000 Bulgarians living abroad would not be able to vote at the forthcoming parliamentary elections on 17 June, the Foreign Ministry Chief Secretary Stoyan Todorov reported. According to Foreign Ministry data, Bulgarians living in Cuba, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya and other countries would not be able to vote because of a lack of applications. According to the Central Electoral Commission, there should be at least 20 applications submitted in a settlement in order for an election district to be opened.
Kisyov concerned about progress of EU accession
Chief Negotiator with EU Vladimir Kisyov expressed his concern on 6 June over the progress of the accession talks with the EU stemming from the blurry European prospects contained in the program of Simeon II's coalition as well as from several points contained in Simeon II's Tuesday statement. Kisyov said that representatives of missions and of international institutions kept asking him this past month where Bulgaria is headed.
He also noted a certain caution on the part of the European Commission in opening or closing acquis communautaire chapters. In his view the unclear messages the Simeon II National Movement (SNM) coalition is sending out are slowing down the accession talks. Kisyov is especially concerned by Simeon II's intention to slash the expenses of the state administration and the intention to slow down the passage of laws so as to improve their quality.
In his view, such a slowdown is impossible since the country is racing to meet legislation alignment program deadlines. Only attempts to improve the quality of legislation could be made. Kisyov said he is surprised by Simeon II's plans for a duty free zone in Thrace with Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish participation. "This format is puzzling to those familiar with Bulgaria's international commitments," he said. Kisyov also said that the plans to reduce sharply taxes and at the same time increase all incomes are also a source of concern.
Motorola Inc. signed a USD 31 million contract to supply a global system for mobile and general pocket radio service, or GSM/GPRS, network to Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's (OTE) GloBul business in Bulgaria. Motorola said in a press release Tuesday, last week that its alliance with Cisco Systems Inc. will deliver end-to-end programs for wireless Internet access and voice, data and video services on mobile networks.
Motorola will also provide network tools and services. The contract covers the first phase of provision and commissioning for a 900/1800 GSM/GPRS digital cellular network development in Bulgaria. GloBul is scheduled to launch operations in mid-July and expects a total investment of USD 250 million, of which USD 80 million will be invested this year.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 8 June 2001
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