Belgian meeting bodes well for Bulgaria
The developments along the Macedonia-Kosovo border topped the agenda of the meeting between European Commission President Romano Prodi and Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov over a working dinner in Brussels on Tuesday, during Stoyanov's official visit to Belgium. "Prodi was extremely appreciative of Bulgaria's progress in recent years, especially against the background of what is going on in Macedonia," Stoyanov told reporters. Stoyanov also said that Prodi was very categorical in his assessment that Bulgaria makes an exceedingly good impression with its stability and democratic and economic progress.
Bulgaria pledges its support to Macedonia
On Thursday, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov left on an official two-day visit to Macedonia at the invitation of his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubco Georgievski. Bulgaria's support for Macedonia's government at a moment of increased tension along the Macedonian-Yugoslav border will be the focus of the talks.
Bulgaria's Kfor duty to reinforce control along the Kosovo border was discussed in an interview with Kostov on Macedonian TV. If this duty is not carried out, Kostov said, the conflict would blow up much in the same way as the conflicts in Southern Serbia. The opening of a second front in the northern part of Macedonia, similar to the one in Southern Serbia, shouldn't be allowed, said the prime minister. He confirmed again the willingness of the Bulgarian government to help Macedonia overcome the crisis.
Mikhaylova and Papandreou exchange views
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhaylova and Greek Prime Minister Yeoryios Papandreou spoke on the phone and exchanged views on the current situation in Macedonia and considered further actions by the international community to mitigate the border crisis there, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Radko Vlaykov told reporters. This was Mikhaylova's second talk with Papandreou in the last two days, Vlaykov said.
Papandreou briefed Mikhaylova on the outcome of his visit to Skopje. The two agreed that there is a need for a decision by the international community and for a clearer definition of the powers of KFOR. Later in the day Mikhaylova had a telephone conversation with Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, Vlaykov told BTA.
Precautions taken against foot-and-mouth disease
Bulgaria introduced a complete ban on the import and transit of live animals, meat products and animal feed ingredients originating in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, a decision triggered by the fast spread of foot-and-mouth disease there, the Agriculture Ministry told BTA on Friday last week. Imports from Germany, France, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands are temporarily being discontinued until the situation is clarified, the Agriculture Ministry said, explaining that these countries have imported from the UK.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 12 March 2001
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