SKOPJE, AUGUST 31, 1995 (MIC)
As part of the regular activities of all units of the Macedonian Army, the Elite Guard Brigade of Skopje carried out a tactical exercise yesterday on the firing range "Krivolak.". Under the supervision of their officers, the soldiers from the April class carried out the exercise - Reinforced infantry unit in attack, with the support of tanks and artillery.
The aim of the exercise, according to the commander of the Elite Guard Brigade, colonel Dragan Andreski, was to check the level of training of the officers and soldiers and their readiness to carry out military tasks, i.e. to get the units used to working together with the infantry and artillery as support, with the use of various firearms.
Otherwise, 14 types of firearms were used in yesterday's exercise. The infantry was helped by a tank platoon with a rocket launcher of 128 mm, mortar of 120.82 and 60 mm cannons "B-1" and bazooka "zolja" of 60 mm and "osa" (tran. note "bee") of 90 mm.
At the end of the exercise, after summing up the results of the shooting, the commander Andreski stressed that 98% of the infantry targets had been hit, that all the targets of the artillery weapons were hit, the tanks were 95% precise, while the antiaircraft targets - 62%, which, in average, is enough to regard the exercise as very successful.
The U.S. Government is insisting on the normalization of the relations between Greece and Macedonia - George Stefanopoulos, special advisor to the U.S. President stated in Athens on Tuesday.
Following his meetings with the representatives of the Greek Government, Stefanopoulos held a news conference at which he said, as the Greek media report, that the dispute between Athens and Skopje, despite the difficulties, would be solved by the end of the year.
The official Greek circles do not share this opinion. Prime Minister Papandreou, following his meeting with George Stefanopoulos, at which he discussed the controversial issues between Athens and Skopje, stated that Greece would not lift the embargo against Macedonia one-sidedly.
In an effort to bring Greece and Turkey closer together, the advisor to the U.S. President, who also stayed in Ankara and Nicosia, handed Papandreou a letter from President Clinton, containing proposals regarding the relations in the region. Announcements in Athens say Papandreou will respond to the letter in the next days.
Around 200 workers from the working unit "shoe-making" in the Skopje company "Gazela" continued the four-day work stoppage yesterday as well, with a threat they will not go back to their jobs unless they receive their salaries for three months.
This blocking of the company, which only just managed to stand on its feet again, according to the general director Miroslav Apostolski, could have catastrophic consequences. Namely, "Gazela," as one of the few "loss-makers" to get a considerable sum from the Government (2.5 million DEM) to save the company, managed to sign a couple of perspective deals with foreign partners, which, provided they are realized, will not only "cover" the government guarantee, but also open up new export opportunities. However, the heated atmosphere, which instead of being in the plants is among the workers, as Apostolski says, prevents the final deadline - October 13 from being met, after which the government guarantee will be activated, and that automatically draws the liquidation of the whole company.
Seeing there is no money for salaries at the moment, i.e. efforts are being made to procure at least one salary by the end of this week, the work stoppage doesn't seem likely to stop, hence the management will be forced to seek other ways to continue with the production, since, as the director says, "it would be a shame to miss out on this chance, by simply pulling the belt tighter in the next couple of months, in order to save the company."
A Yugoslav soldier was shot and killed yesterday, and another one was wounded when an armed group opened fire on a Yugoslav patrol on the Yugoslav-Albanian border, the news agency Tanjug reports.
The announcement says that the group ambushed the patrol with an automatic gun, near Gakovica, and then escaped to Albania, whereby the storm that was blowing helped it hide. The agency cites the Yugoslav army as calling the group "terrorist."
The Albanian Interior Ministry stated yesterday that the Albanian citizens are not responsible for the attack on the Yugoslav border patrol.
A meeting between a delegation of the Macedonian Government and representatives of the doner-countries is scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday in Paris, under the organization of the World Bank. Macedonia's Finance Minister Jane Miljovski, who will be leading the Macedonian delegation, will leave for the French capital on Monday already. Otherwise, the delegation will also consist of the minister without portfolio Ljube Trpevski, the governor of the People's Bank of Macedonia Borko Stanoevski and a representative of the Ministry of Development.
According to minister Miljovski, the meeting with the group for helping Macedonia was agreed back in the first half of the year, as part of the activities to find a solution for the regulation of Macedonia's debts to foreign creditors. Out of ten European countries including Japan, which will be taking part in the Paris meeting, Switzerland has announced a donation of US$ 6 million and Holland - US$ 8 million.
Still, according to the opinion of experts, no greater financial effects should be expected from the meeting. Foremost, seeing Macedonia recently regulated its obligations toward the Paris club. As it is known, in July, this association of governments and government agencies - creditors, reprogrammed Macedonia's debt of US$ 218 million according to so-called Houston conditions - with a pay-back deadline of 15 years and a six year grace period. The pay-back of the rest of the debt which dates from December 2, 1982 (some US$ 75 million) has been "extended" to six years, with a grace period of 1.5 years. The postponement of the pay-back of the credits taken out after this critical date in 1982 has enabled the country's balance of payments to be balanced out, bank experts say.
In any case, the meeting will be useful to get acquainted with the reforms and Macedonia's possibilities, experts stress. Preparative meetings with the World Bank have been scheduled for September 4 and 5, while the meeting the group of countries for assistance is agreed for the two subsequent days - September 6 and 7.
The visit of the advisor to the U.S. President George Stefanopoulos to Athens is the main media event in neighboring Greece, at least according to the attention it has been receiving in the electronic media. The TV cameras are following every move of this high U.S. official with Greek roots, especially after his mission in Cyprus and Ankara and yesterday's visit to Athens.
According to reports in the Greek media, the most attention at all meetings and talks was given to the two key issues of national interest - the relations with Ankara and Skopje, and quite normally, the massively attended news conference yesterday also focused on these two issues.
Much more space and attention to the Macedonian-Greek dispute, more precisely, the relations Athens-Skopje was given in yesterday's exclusive interview with George Stefanopoulos for the TV station "Mega."
In response to a journalists' question as when a solution to the dispute between Macedonia and Greece would be found, George Stefanopoulos said:
"I hope very soon, but I couldn't say exactly when. It's better to solve this dispute sooner than later. Firstly, because it's equally as important for Athens and Skopje, and secondly, it is also important for the relations on the Balkans, especially in the present context of occurrences in the regions of former Yugoslavia.."
The Greek TV commentators are pointing out Stefanopoulos' efforts to settle the open questions through dialogue.
The head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church left with his associates today for U.S.A. and Canada, where he will be staying on a visit to the Macedonian eparchy till the end of September, this year. Beside taking part in the work of the Eparchy Assembly, his Holiness will also participate in the great gathering of the Macedonians from the North American continent, which will be held on September 2 in Detroit, and which will be hosted by the Macedonian Orthodox church community "Sveta Bogorodica." On this occasion, the Macedonian church delegation will meet with the delegation of the Republic of Macedonia, led by the Speaker of the Macedonian Parliament Stojan Andov. Both delegations will realize meetings and contacts with the leaders of the Macedonian ethnic community and the Macedonian eparchy for the U.S.A. and Canada, in an effort to overcome the problems more easily.
The delegation of the Holy Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, led by Archbishop Mr. Mihail will visit some twenty Macedonian church communities in the U.S.A. and Canada in the next couple of days. In addition to talks with their managements, new churches, spiritual-cultural centers and other objects will be consecrated, as well as placing laying foundations for the construction of new churches and temples of the MOC on this continent.
The NDP presidency has assessed that in this period, as until now, it has made efforts, in a principled way, to inform the international factor about the deserved rights and status of the Albanians in Macedonia.
In relation to the Macedonian-Albanian talks as part of the International Conference on former Yugoslavia, with the mediation of ambassador Gerd Arens, despite some assessments about their effect, the NDP presidency assessed that they should continue on, in the hope that if not at this one, then at some other new conference on former Yugoslavia, the Albanian question will be one of the questions that have to be solved.
The NDP presidency views the letter sent by the three leaders of the Albanian parties of Macedonia to the President of the U.S.A. Bill Clinton, as an act that is in place and a consequence of the lack of political will on the part of the current authorities to regulate the internal problems without the mediation of the international factor.
The presidency sees the reactions, accusations and interpretations of various Macedonian parties and circles in relation to this letter as unfounded and arbitrary and advises these circles to dedicate themselves more to the climate of total equality in Macedonia, is said in the statement issued by the Information Service of the NDP.
At its last session, the central presidency of PDP - Party for National Unity, whose president is Nevzat Halili, unanimously supported the letter sent by the three Albanian political parties to the U.S. President Bill Clinton, with a note that next time, in a similar circumstance, all the political parties whose membership is predominantly Albanian should join in such causes, is said in the announcement issued by the PDP-PNE Information Service.
Yesterday in Skopje, under the organization of the Ministry of Finance and the Stock Commission, the decision to give approval to the work of the Macedonian stock exchange was handed in a formal way. On behalf of the Stock Commission, minister Ljupcho Trpevski handed the decision to the representative of the founders of the stock exchange Ljiljana Stojanovich Hristova.
Otherwise, founders of the Macedonian stock exchange are 11 banks, four savings banks and two insurance companies: Makedonska Banka a.d. Skopje, Stopanska Banka a.d. Skopje, Kreditna Banka a.d. Bitola, Tutunska Banka a.d. Skopje, Invest Banka a.d. Skopje, Almako Banka a.d. Skopje, Izvozna i Kreditna Banka a.d. Skopje, Ohridska Banka a.d. Ohrid, Komercijalna Banka a.d. Skopje, Radobank a.d. Skopje and Balkanska Banka a.d. Skopje, the savings banks "Mladinec" - Skopje, "Interfalco" - Skopje, Savings bank and exchange office "Tat" - Bitola, "Tutun" - Skopje, Stock Company for insurance and re-insurance "Makedonija" - Skopje and "Tabak" - stock company for insurance and re-insurance - Skopje.
The stock exchange is founded with a capital of one million Deutsche marks, in which the founders have an equal participation, in terms of percentages, and they have to pay the founding capital within six months, in just as many installments.
As the president of the Stock Commission Ljupcho Trpevski emphasized before handing the decision, the acts that were received from the Steering committee are in full compliance with our laws that regulate this field with the sub-legal acts, therefore the Commission unanimously decided to make a positive decision about the foundation and start of the stock exchange.
In the coming period, the founders, the Stock Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Association of banks and savings banks with the Macedonian Chamber of Commerce should round off all the activities surrounding the stock exchange, which should start working some time in January, next year. Otherwise, the acts which were received are according to the world stock exchange standards, without any particularities. That means, Trpevski said, that the Macedonian stock exchange will be founded and will work according to European standards, whereby the commercial banks will have to right to participate in the stock market as well, however, they will have to do so through some separate legal entities, broker's houses and through strictly separate book-keeping. This decision was accepted in order not to jeopardize the deposit activities of the bank, in this highly risky business. "We insisted on that" Trpevski said, "so within a year, as it stands in the decision for the foundation of the stock exchange, the founders have to form the broker's houses. Representatives of the British "Know-how" fund are coming next week already, to agree on some details surrounding the courses for the training of brokers. The first course will start in October, whereby representatives of the founders of the stock exchange will have the advantage. The licence these brokers will receive will be recognized internationally, which means they will be able to work as brokers in any country in the world.
Other than that, the first Macedonian stock exchange is founded according to the principles stipulated in the rules for the foundation and work of the stock exchange. It will be a non- profit institution in which the founders will realize their interests through the possibility to profit with the margin of trading with stocks, and not through participation in the profits of the stock exchange. The stock exchange will be of an open type, and more than half of the members of the managing board will be independent members from the ranks of expert and scientific financial circles, who are not directly involved in the stocks trading. The stock exchange will have a full centralization of the circulation of stocks (all types of stocks will be traded) on the principle of dematerialization of the stocks. At the beginning, the trading will take place "on the floor" with the direct participation of the members of the stock exchange. The stock exchange will enable the free transfer of the capital of the domestic and foreign investors to those who truly need it.
The next step toward the starting of the work of the stock exchange is the holding of a constituent assembly and listing it in the court register, which has to be done, all together, within 14 days from the reception of the work permit.