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Bulgaria Sees Stability Threat in Macedonia Crisis.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov said on Sunday escalating fighting in nearby Macedonia could threaten the stability of his country during a transition period between two governments.
"It should be clear that the threats (from the Macedonian crisis) to Bulgaria are now much more painful and we are currently much more sensitive," Kostov told a news conference at the end of a two-day party conference of his UDF party.
Bulgaria dissolved parliament on April 19 in preparation for a general election on June 17. The new parliament, which is to vote in a new cabinet, will be assembled in late June. Until then, Kostov's UDF cabinet will remain in charge.
"The truth should be known -- Bulgaria now does not have the political stability it had when it had a working parliament and a regular (government) mandate," Kostov said.
"This is why Bulgaria is the country which is most sensitive and most interested in finding a quick solution to a new phase of the crisis in Macedonia.
"It is possible that there might be a refugee inflow. It is possible that people with small arms cross the border even though we are guarding it with increased attention," he said.
The UDF conference passed a resolution on Macedonia condemning violence by ethnic Albanian guerrillas as well as violence against Macedonia's ethnic Albanian population.
It urged all sides in the Macedonian crisis, especially the ruling centre-right VMRO-DPMNE party, to show "strong will for a political dialogue which will guarantee the multi-ethnic system in Macedonia and the rights of all its citizens."
The document urged a "new, wider approach" by the European Union, NATO and Macedonia's neighbours to guarantee stability in the Balkans.
Violence in Macedonia, with which Sofia has close historic and cultural ties, spiralled anew last week after rebels killed 10 Macedonian soldiers and policemen within days, raising international fear of a wider Balkans conflict.
Macedonian leaders were expected on Sunday to start consultations on whether to declare a state of war, although EU foreign ministers urged them not to do so in order to give peace diplomacy a better chance.
Macedonia: Macedonia plans to declare the state of war.
Skopje, 06.05.2001 (Makfax) - Macedonia's Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said Saturday he plans to ask Parliament to declare a state of war, hours after Macedonian security forces launched an wide operations against Albanian terrorist groups in the region of Kumanovo.
The comments from Macedonian Prime Minister followed a series of rebel ambushes of security forces and the steady bombardment of insurgent positions in the northern part of Macedonia - attacks that have deepened fears the country is on the verge of civil war.
``What is happening on the territory of Macedonia is war,'' Georgievski told reporters outside an emergency session of the Macedonian leadership.
``Those people who are doing this have the aim of conquering the territory'', he said before the
meeting with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski.
A declaration of a state of war needs the approval of a two-thirds majority of the 120-member Parliament. The legislature was expected to meet Tuesday, but the statements from Georgievski suggested he could try reshuffling the government before that.
If approved, the declaration would give President Boris Trajkovski the power to appoint a government of his choosing and Government to rule by decree. It would also give Government the ability to seal the borders, ban public gatherings, and impose a curfew.
Georgievski also said joint action against the rebels could be taken with the government in neighboring Yugoslavia, where ethnic Albanian insurgents operate in of the province of Kosovo.
Just 15 miles north to the capital, the Macedonian security forces pummeled what it said were ``selective'' targets, unleashing rockets from helicopter gunships and firing cannon and grenades at Albanian terrorist command posts and sniper nests in villages dotting the border with Yugoslavia.
So far, world leaders, including President Bush have backed Macedonia in its steadfast refusal to negotiate with the rebels, whom the government views as terrorists trying to seize territory and carve out an ethnic Albanian state.
The police and army ordered civilians to evacuate five villages, describing it as a precaution. Authorities demanded that people in five other villages also leave amid claims that the insurgents were using 3,500 people as ``human shields.''
But the terrorists accused the government of firing indiscriminately at civilians and denied that villagers were being used as shields.
Three Macedonian soldiers were wounded Saturday when their vehicle hit an anti-tank mine planted by the rebels, Defense Ministry spokesman Gjorgji Trendafilov said.
Earlier Saturday, Trajkovski summoned leaders of major political parties, including ethnic Albanians, and announced an ``agreed-upon'' five-point plan to solve the crisis, starting with an evacuation of civilians from the fighting area.
He pledged to include more representatives of ethnic minorities in a decentralized government; strengthen the rule of law; crack down on organized crime; include some minority languages in official use; and ``strengthen the civil concept of Macedonia'' as a nation.
The increasing unease follows days of riots that shook the southern city of Bitola after the funerals of four of eight soldiers killed in a rebel ambush April 28. The government describes the riots, which destroyed some 40 ethnic Albanian businesses, as an expression of outrage to terrorism.
European Union and NATO, fearing escalation of violence in Macedonia, are sending envoys to Macedonia. The EU's security affairs chief, Javier Solana, planned to arrive Sunday and NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson was to join him Monday.
MUXHAHEDIN FROM BOSNIA IS COMING TO HELP THE ALBANIAN TERRORISTS.
The UCPMB and the NLA leadership met recently at the Prizren Hotel in Prizren defining the strategy of these armed terrorists groups and they decided in the future the units of UCPMB and NLA to act jointly and for that purpose they formed joint coordinative staff, Dnevnik learns from foreign intelligence sources. The meeting was attended by Ali Ahmeti and the renegade parliamentarian Hisen Sakiri, who was elected political commissar of two groups that would operate in the Kumanovo-Kacanik area, i.e. the Karadak area. The intelligence sources have information that in the coming days at the ports of Drac or Valona the latest shipment should arrive with new modern western weapons for the terrorists bought with the donations of the Albanian Diaspora in the USA, Europe and from Saudi Arabia.
Also there were contributions from abroad arriving at accounts of private citizens at the Kosovo Bank in Pristina. They also defined the Zone B, the positions were determined and according to the military analysts that kind of defining the positions meant preparing to fight for a longer period of time. The training of the members of the UCPMB and the NLA at the training centres in Kosovo and Albania has been reinforced, and in the last ten days the training has been carried out under the supervision of the El Muxhahedin Brigade under the command of Mehmet Buza from Bosnia and Hercegovina, say the intelligence services. The training is carried out in the camps Elbasan, Peskopea, Kruma, Komani and Tropoia in Albania and Prizren, Kacanik and Gnilane in Kosovo.
According to the intelligence sources at these camps there are also about 50 citizens of the Republic of Macedonia from the areas of Struga, Kicevo and Debar. The receiving centres for volunteers and paid foreign soldiers are in Drac and Tirana. The foreign intelligence sources say that Buza, the well-known commander from the war in Bosnia and Herxegovina came to Kosovo on a request by the renegade commander of UCPMB Muhamed Xhemaili, also a well-known participant in the war in Bosnia. At the meeting at the Prizren Hotel they analysed the NLA activities. The participants at the meeting concluded that the activities of NLA in Macedonia of the expected great support from the local Albanian inhabitants. For the time being all the activities are focused on training waiting for the results from the discussions among the political parties in Macedonia. As critical period they mention the period between 15 and 20 May.
Simeon II Left for Europe on a 5-Day Trip.
Simeon II left yesterday for Madrid. Later he will be in Paris to deliver lectures. "I'm coming back on Sunday," the King said for the journalists at Sofia airport.
Photo Neli Nikolova.
I don't get involved in confrontations and I don't foretell anything.
- Your Majesty, how would you comment the words of PM Kostov, that the coalition 'National Movement Simeon II' (NMSII) gravitates to the communists?
- If we have to tell something, we'll do this properly, in due order, in a gentleman-like, European way. Let's not involve ourselves in confrontations, answers and counter-answers.
- What will the team of NMSII do while you are not in this country?
- Are there telephones? Yes, there are.
- How would you comment the threat of a war flare-up in Macedonia?
God forbid that oil be added to the fire, in the first place. There are other people responsible on this issue. It is the government. There's nothing one could add or comment.
Yet the situation in Macedonia is a threat to the national security?
- It is not me who is responsible for it and I couldn't afford myself expressing opinions, except in case I don't have to on some personal grounds.
- There are just a few days till May 17, when the tickets of the nominees for MPs should be registered. Aren't you troubled by the fact you'll be absent in such an important moment?
- Everything is thought over. Things are been done in a systematic, intelligent and correct way. Let's not play in prophecies, fantasies or any hypothetical theories and ideas.
- It transpired that there are people around the country, who represent themselves as coordinators of the coalition. Whom should people trust, while you are absent?
- The representatives will get their mandate in a most usual way - as it is in all other parties. Those telling stories should bare the responsibility for it.
- And how should people respond to the words of this men?
- Just to wait till the right moment comes.
- Does that mean not to trust them?
- If they are not authorized, people shouldn't trust them, and if they are - they should. My God, is it so difficult to grasp it?
- How exactly do you help our medics in Libya?
- By keeping silence. And not posing this question exactly now during the campaign. These are quite a nice points and it will be more efficient if one acts rather than speaks on these topics. I'm that kind of a person - I prefer acting rather than speaking.
- Will you travel to New York?
- Madrid, Paris and I come back on Sunday. If you include New York in my programme you are really overestimating me.
- Nikolay Marinov is the source of the information.
- He said only that it was possible.
- And do you plan to travel to Washington?
- No I do not, not now.
- When will your tickets be ready?
- Have more confidence in me, I know better than that.