Ministry of Defense of Macedonia, Blagoj Handziski, giving a comment on the events in Croatia for the newspaper "Nova Makedonija" states:
"For us especially concerning is that the latest events in Kninska Krajina brought to significant disturbances on the whole Balkans, because big part of the refugees from these regions enter Serbia. A significant part of them is so far directed on the south, while it is known that one group is in the area of Nis, while the other group in large number is directed towards Kosovo and actually that is the problem which particularly concerns us. There are ethnic tensions on Kosovo anyway and we estimate that this settling of the refugees on Kosovo will only bring increasing of the present ones.
On a strategic plan, the changes in Kninska Krajina decreased the chances of Serbia for an outlet on the sea in this region. With that, automatically its interest for the Thessaloniki's port is increased... We consider that this is equally dangerous for Macedonia, because with it the strategical significance of Macedonia grows, and most probably the Greek Government will finally realize that stronger and stable Macedonia is more convenient to it than a "Great Serbia", states Handziski.
Handziski adds that the "changes that happened on the north point out that the mandate, make-up and the number of the present forces of UNPREDEP in Macedonia will have to be reexamined in order to be able to act preventively and on time to stop the destabilization of the south of the Balkans on any kind of basis, because the international community is also aware that eventual destabilization of Macedonia would automatically mean tectonic disturbance of the whole region".
"For me, and it is bipartisan, the politics of equidistance is a conservative approach. That conception has a preventive character and requests defensive behavior in our complex neighboring surrounding", stated Vasil Tupurkovski, former member of the Presidency of SFRY and former envoy of Macedonia to the USA, for an interview of the Macedonian Television. He added also that "therefore, much more adequate conception would be the active cooperation with all of the neighbors. If we go into the character of the relations which we have achieved with the neighboring countries, it comes out that we don't have a big positive balance. We have to have an initiative for versatile cooperation with the neighbors for the negative dimensions to be converted into our positive credit".
Regarding the Macedonian - Greek problem, Tupurkovski claims that in the country that problem unjustifiably doesn't have the treatment of a vital state interest:
"In Macedonia, the public knows very little about that and it can't participate in creating a climate which will give directions and inspirations to the politics regarding our position in the negotiations. On the other hand, because of the lack of consensus, not only of the political relations, we suffer in those negotiations. We don't have to prove how endurable we are or how definitively determined we are in defending the most holy, let's say, postulates of the Macedonian being in this dispute. We should look after the interests of the citizens and the interests of the state."
Regarding the achieved degree of development of the democratic relations in the country, Tupurkovski considers that this country "can not have an alibi for the still not encircled political system". "For such a situation a responsibility should be overtaken. Repercussions are huge. When the political system doesn't function in its integrity, the changes can be conducted without any regulated political relations and without definite rules of the game. And therefore there are the deviations which occupied this area, vacuum, which is on their disposal because of the not-completed system".
Regarding the resolution of the Albanian question on Kosovo, Tupurkovski estimates: "Albanian question will not be solved isolated, outside of Macedonia. In that case, too, we have to say where we stand or to go into that problem much more seriously. Multiethnic incidents and problems are a big minus for the country".
The Ambassador of Japan in Macedonia, Cujosi Kurokava, yesterday stayed in Ohrid and was received, in separate visits, by the President Kiro Gligorov, and by the Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski.
During the talk with the President Gligorov, there was mutual content expressed about the continual development of the Macedonian - Japanese relations and the cooperation in many fields of common interest. Mutual is the estimate that the total level of contacts is raised and that the interest for economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation with both countries is increased.
On his request, the Japanese Ambassador was acquainted with the popular matters and with the attitudes of Republic of Macedonia about the situation in the region.
Last Saturday, in the air-base at the airport "Petrovec" and at the lake "Mladost" close to Veles, a demonstration of the peaceful-time possibilities of the transportation helicopters MI-17 from the military air-forces and the anti-air force defence of the Army of Macedonia. At the demonstration the transportation of goods and working with setting a fire was presented. Major Goran Zdravkovski, commandeer of this air force brigade stated that the helicopters can be used also for the needs of the electrical industry, forestry, for medical and humanitarian needs, during natural disasters and during road-control.
According to the colonel Mile Manolev, commandeer of the military air force and anti-air force defense, the helicopters can transport 25-40 cut out or stranded people and can lend on any kind of terrain.
Ministry of Finances focuses on three sections with the change of the payment of the taxes: annual contingent of taxes, sales tax and taxing the finishing work. The suggestions for changing the way of enforcing the payment of these taxes will be discussed at today's session of the Government.
The changes of the way of payment are done because of the weak payment of the taxes in the first six months of the year, when 78% of the projected requests are being paid. The biggest failure is with the annual contingent of taxes which payment consists of 64%.
According to the suggestion of the Ministry of finances the annual contingent of taxes (for the oil derivatives, tobacco products, coffee, luxury goods...) will be charged at the border together with the customs. Alleviations are only predicted with the raw oil which serves for further finishing and which is then finished in Ohis and Skopje's Oil Refinery.
Minister Miljovski claims that with the tobacco there is a not paid tax of about DEM 10 million, while the same amount of money is not paid also when it comes to the oil derivatives.
According to the new measures, it is planned for the time period for payment of the sales tax to be shortened, which is now shortened to a period of 45 days.
The third measure is the problem of the importation because of the exportation, and there, first of all, they are relying on the lohn works, when ready-made materials arrive from abroad, in Macedonia they are just being finished and then they are being exported. So far, if the deals like these were being done in six months there was no customs at the entry of the goods in Macedonia. The Government now has an intention to change this and to charge the customs at the entry of the goods in the country, and to turn over the means at its repeated exportation. The Government justifies this with the speculations happening on this plan.
In Ohrid, according to the estimates of the tourist workers there, 20,000 of tourists are vacationing there which represents a record in this year's tourist season.
According to the reports from this city, for the first time after the beginning of the war in former Yugoslavia, there are tourists in Ohrid from Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Israel, and individually there could be found citizens of Holland, Poland and other countries.
Constructions enterprise "Granit" from Skopje is working on reconstruction of the roads in Bulgaria, in a length of 124 kilometers, and the whole deal is worth US$15 million. In one year 80% of the objects are being finished. 1,200 tones of asphalt are being produced and installed.
Besides this deal, "Granit" has been offered also a new deal for engaging into the reconstruction of several roads near Sofia.