SKOPJE, AUGUST 24, 1995 (MIC)
At the border crossing Deve Bair, near Kriva Palanka, the competent authorities prevented a group of Albanians from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from illegally crossing the border with false Macedonian passports. The group consisted of 30 Albanians from Kosovo who tried to cross into Bulgaria with false Macedonian passports, while their final goal was reaching Germany. The "blind passengers" obtained false passports for a larger sum of money, and some Macedonian tourist agencies were supposed to transfer them to Bulgaria. The captured group, as we are informed, is held in custody, and charges have been brought against them at the District public attorney's office.
In recent times, stealing passports from Macedonian citizens has become a virtually every-day occurrence in neighboring Bulgaria. On a monthly average, the Macedonian embassy used to issue 20 to 30 traveling documents to Macedonian citizens who had had their passports stolen, and this month alone, 36 such cases were registered. There is also some information that points to the fact that some citizens sold their Macedonian passports themselves, for 1,500 DEM.
The peace mediator of the European Union for former Yugoslavia Carl Bilt stated that "the situation in Kosovo presents a serious problem," Makpress reports, calling upon the Belgrade agency Beta.
The Prishtina daily in Albanian language "Bujku" published yesterday on the first page Bilt's report that "the situation on the Balkans is becoming explosive."
"There is a belief that I have been dealing only with the problems of Bosnia in recent times, but that is not true, as I have always regarded Kosovo a serious problem. The situation in Kosovo is a cause of concern," "Bujku" quotes Bilt's words.
The European mediator announced that "because of that," he would soon be visiting FR Yugoslavia, Macedonia and Albania.
The Red Cross of Kosovo has announced that 3,623 Serb refugees from Kraina are sheltered in this province, however, this figure is not final, therefore, new groups of refugees are arriving every day. The Prishtina daily in Serbian language "Jedinstvo" quotes in its Tuesday story on the Kraina refugees the words of the president of the Assembly of the municipality Istok, Malisha Petrovich, who says that this area has a capacity to house another 5,000 refugees.
George Stefanopoulos, an American of Greek origin, clearly emphasized in the interview for the TV station "Mega" that the U.S. administration is working toward a quick resolution of the Macedonian-Greek dispute and the lifting of the embargo. To the additional journalistic remark that Athens proposes a lifting of the embargo after both sides start negotiations, Stefanopoulos expressed the opinion that the economic measures were counter-productive and that they should be abolished beforehand. He also said that the dispute would soon come to an end, to the satisfaction of both sides, and that the special envoy of the U.S. President, Matthew Nimetz was working on that.
Meanwhile, following such statements from the other side of the ocean, speculation was renewed in Greece over the possible lifting of the embargo, which the Greek citizens were quick to convey to this side of the border. Yet, on the border itself, there are no signs which would point to the possibility of opening up the border for the flow of goods to and from Macedonia.
To the contrary, hardly one to two trucks carrying soya or food arrive from Greece on a daily basis. The traffic of cargo vehicles from the Macedonian side of the border is impossible. As to the passenger traffic, it mainly scales down to holiday-makers from Serbia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, returning from the northern Aegean coast.
As part of the preparations for the new school year, the Ministry of Education and Physical Culture, in view of the right and obligations of compulsory elementary education, calls on all the parents whose children were not included in the educational process in the past three years in Dolna Debarska Zhupa, to enroll their children in the elementary school "Mosha Pijade" - center Zhupa, is said in the announcement of the Ministry of Education and Physical Culture.
To help the children grasp the material which they missed out on over the past three years more easily, the school will be conducting a shortened educational program, prepared by the Pedagogy Institute of Macedonia, which will start from the new school year.
The classes, as it is said in the announcement, in the school "Mosha Pijade" - center Zhupa, will be held as before, in Macedonian and Albanian language.
According to the Draft-law on local self-management, instead of the municipal assemblies in which the members were elected, another solution is given - a municipal Council. Instead of members of local assemblies, members of the Council will be elected at direct elections, whereby their number will range from 13 in municipalities of up to 10,000 citizens, up to 25 in municipalities with over 100,000 citizens. This organ will also have its chairman, and his authority will mostly come to light in the direct executive phase of the settlement of the problems in the municipality.
A new element in the sphere of local self-management will be the introduction of the function chief architect of the town, in units which have a town as their base. He will be appointed by the mayor, for a term of 4 years. The chief architect will be in charge of the town's urban and architectonic appearance. He will be able to initiate changes in the urban city plan or to introduce a new one, as well as to prepare additional norms and rulebooks from the sphere of architecture.
As to the funding of the local self-management, a line of independent funding sources are foreseen: taxes, land and utilities taxes, tax income, profits from public companies, as well as additional revenue from the state budget.
Furthermore, the law prevents the institutionalized connection of the municipalities at the level of regions, whereby the municipalities can not form regional self-management communities.
As to the dissolution of the town councils, it can follow if the majority of its members are in favour of that. It can also follow with an act of the Macedonian Government, if the Council fails to meet for a period longer than 6 months, or if it fails to hold at least 2 sessions in a year, if it fails to adopt a budget in the legally foreseen period or if it makes a decision that threatens the sovereignty and integrity of the state.
This law does not determine the number and territory of the units of the local self-management. That is expected to be done with the Law on territorial division of the state.
The first Macedonian-Russian Slavic scientific conference started in Ohrid yesterday, which is being held as part of the 28th International Seminar on Macedonian language, literature and culture, and which has 130 guests from 25 countries this year.
The provost of the University "Cyril and Methodius" Dr. Vera Veskovich-Vangeli welcomed the participants, and said that in the next 2 days, some 60 renowned scientific workers from Russia, Macedonia and other countries would discuss the mutual relations, connections and influences.
On behalf of the Russian side, Mr. Evtihov, representative of the Russian embassy in Macedonia addressed the participants, and read the letter sent on this occasion by the Russian Minister of Culture Evgenij Sidorov.
70 essays will be read out at the Conference, 32 from the field of language, 25 from literature and 13 from culture. Otherwise, the Conference was opened in the presence of Macedonia's highest political figures, including the President of the Republic Kiro Gligorov and the Archbishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church Mr. Mihail.
Finance Minister Jane Miljovski announced a readjustment of the state budget in today's interview for the newspaper "Nova Makedonija," which would be aimed at reducing costs. Because of the need to have an insight into the movements of the funds in the budget in the next couple of months as well, this readjustment is expected in the last quarter of the year.
Mr. Miljovski also stated that greater revenues from the customs were expected, when it comes to imports for the purpose of finishing. Namely, last year, 10% of the overall imports were for finishing, and now, that percentage is 30%.
Speaking of the level of taxes in the state, Miljovski stated that they were also high at present, and that raising them even more would have a counter-productive effect and would empty the state treasury even more.
In relation to the control of the work of the companies, minister Miljovski stated that if the existing 60,000 companies were to be controlled equally, then each one would be controlled only once every 7 years. He claims this in view of the fact that there are 250 inspectors in the state, i.e. just as many as there were before the opening of the private companies.
Furthermore, Miljovski stated that "today, 50% of the trade is not registered in the books," which means business is done in cash, which means that "the companies behave as if they don't live in this country!"
In the industrial slaughterhouse "Gorni Polog" from Gostivar, in the first half of this year, the planned physical scope of production, the marketing of the finished products and the cashing in of the money, have all been literally all been fully realized.
"The business conditions were also very difficult and complex this year, especially in the first semester, where I would particularly emphasize the problem with the sale of the fresh lamb's meat on the markets in Italy and Croatia," the acting general director of "Gorni Polog" Nikola Kukovski stated.
"The transportation along the roundabout roads took 6 to 10 days longer, unlike the time from before the war, when it took one to two days. The costs were unnecessarily increased, the profits dropped. But, in spite of these circumstances, we still managed to market 500 tones of quality lamb's meat from the Sar mountain in Italy and Croatia, and realized a foreign currency influx of 3 million DEM. Even in this slow season, we are continuously exporting 10 tones of lamb's meat to Croatia every week. But, there are less and less lambs in the country, and that causes some problems. Otherwise, the plans for the production of delicatessen has been fully realized, as well as the can department. Almost all of the half-year production has been sold."
Kukovski especially accented the efforts of the Macedonian Government, which not only increased the export stimulations of the lamb's meat from 4.2% to 30%, but is also paying the funds according to the agreed dynamics, which, according to Kukovski, contributes to the restoration of trust with the direct cattle-breeders, to increase their basic flock of sheep.
"In the period of purchase and marketing of the lamb's meat in Italy, the Italian lira devaluated 30%. And, the agreements for payment were signed in Italian lira, so the value of the export dropped for that percentage. But, the stimulations compensated for that, and contributed to the successful work of the slaughterhouses and the cattle raising co-operatives," Kukovski said.
At yesterday's third day of the auction of state-owned shops in Skopje, and which are being privatized now, out of 20 shops that went on offer, 18 were sold, and there were no buyers for only 2. Yesterday, the highest sum per 1m2 was also achieved, which reached 14,052 DEM. Otherwise, the shops that were sold yesterday ranged from 20 - 27 m2.
The auction in continuing today, and the interest is also expected to be great.