Kostov doesn't attend EU summit
Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and Foreign Minister Nadežda Mikhaylova are not participating in the 16 June European Union summit in Gothenburg, the governmental press office said. Kostov and Mikhaylova think it will be more appropriate if they stayed in the country during the deliberation day before the 17 June elections.
Other reasons for the cancellation are the situation in Macedonia and the hearing in the trial against the Bulgarian medics charged with intentionally infecting 393 Libyan children with HIV. Bulgaria will be represented at the summit by Chief Negotiator with the EU Vladimir Kisyov.
Electorate to be sure of vote
On 12 June, President Petâr Stoyanov held a news conference at the presidency, and called upon Bulgarian voters to be sure exactly for whom and for what they will vote. Each party that wants to be represented in the National Assembly must clearly and precisely declare its goals, endeavors and priorities in the days remaining until the election, said the President.
Stoyanov also said that the possibility of Stefan Sofiyanski, Sofia's mayor, heading a coalition government after the elections must not be viewed as a retreat from the Union of Democratic Forces policy.
Kostov to establish coordinating committee
On 14 June, Ivan Kostov ordered the establishment of a coordinating committee in connection with the conflict in Macedonia and the possibility of a refugee influx into Bulgaria, the Council of Ministers' Information and Public Relations Directorate said.
Minister without Portfolio Aleksandâr Pramatarski has been appointed chairman of the committee, and National Civil Protection Agency President Nikola Nikolov has been appointed deputy chairman. According to the National Plan of Emergency Response, buildings are allocated for accommodation of possible refugees in Macedonia.
If necessary, Bulgaria plans to approach the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and neighboring countries for assistance, in the event of large numbers of refugees crossing from Macedonia to Bulgaria. Each country involved would be expected to decide how it can help and what commitments it would assume in the event of a refugee influx.
According to the plan, handling such a situation would be financed out of the budget allocation for emergency management: "These questions have received much consideration during and since the Kosovo crisis, and we are now prepared in every respect," the Agency for Refugees commented. The agency also said not a single Macedonian has yet applied for asylum in Bulgaria.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 15 June 2001
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