Relations with Yugoslavia
The government has approved a program for development of economic relations with Yugoslavia. Deputy Prime Minister Peter Zhotev said that under the program, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia will cooperate in such areas as insurance of export goods and standardization. In the very near future, a bilateral agreement is to be signed on free trade, and the Bulgarian-Yugoslav Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation is to hold its second session.
Prime Minister Ivan Kostov urged new Yugoslav President Vojislav Koštunica to avoid conflict and support autonomy in Kosovo, in an interview published Monday. "We have to find a peaceful solution for Kosovo and not create a new conflict," he said. Kostov also called for improved relations between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
Bulgaria backed Belgrade's hopes of joining the Southeast European Stability Pact, launched last year to offer investment in the region in exchange for democratic progress, he said. "Bulgaria will not be jealous" if Belgrade joins the pact "because they are in an extremely difficult economic situation," Kostov said.
Left-wingers visit Moscow
A delegation of a left-wing faction of the Bulgarian Parliament arrived in Moscow at the end of last week on an invitation from the Russian State Duma leadership. The delegation, headed by Georgi Purvanov, the chairman of the Democratic Left in Bulgaria's National Assembly and the chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, is expected to meet with Russian State Duma Chairman Gennadiy Seleznev and representatives of the main parliamentary parties. Issues of cooperation between the Russian and Bulgarian Parliaments as well as trade and economic relations between the two countries will be discussed.
Bulgaria proposed that the chiefs of staff of Southeast European countries hold annual meetings to discuss the security of the region, the Bulgarian news agency BTA reported.
Speaking at the annual meeting of Southeast European and US defence ministers in Thessaloniki, Bulgarian Defence Minister Boyko Noev said the first such forum of chiefs of staff should be held in Sofia before the end of the year. The defence ministers are expected to sign an agreement to establish a coordination committee to deal with accidents and disasters in the region.
Meanwhile, US General Henry Shelton, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who visited Bulgaria last week, expressed his country's readiness to help Bulgaria in implementing military reforms. He had talks with President Petar Stoyanov, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, and Col-Gen Mikho Mikhov, chief of the Bulgarian Army General Staff.
MobilTel AD, Bulgaria's only digital mobile phone operator, signed an agreement with Siemens AG on developing services to offer fast Internet access, music and video on mobile phones, MobilTel said in a statement. The companies signed the agreement in Hanover, Germany, to "prepare a joint concept for introduction of (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Systems) standard systems in Bulgaria."
The two companies earlier this year signed a DM 75 million (USD 33.5 million) agreement to work on a joint business plan. MobilTel expects its subscriber base to grow to 600,000 by the end of the year, from more than 400,000 in September.
Bulgaria day at EXPO
The "Day of Bulgaria" was marked at EXPO 2000 international fair in Hanover, Germany, on Saturday last week. The Bulgarian national flag was raised, and, in his address, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Zhotev noted that the day presented an opportunity for the world to see Bulgaria as a country with ancient history and culture and beautiful nature that is progressing in the modern world.
The ceremony was attended by Erich Stater, German Secretary with the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and EXPO 2000 Deputy Director General Norbert Bargman. A highlight of the Bulgarian exhibition was a tomb from the Valley of Thracian Kings.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 13 October 2000
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