ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT KIRO GLIGOROV An assassination attempt on the life of the President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov took place in Skopje today, a couple of minutes before 10.00 A.M.. The assassination attempt took place on the street "Makedonija," across the street from Hotel Bristol in the city center, most probably while President Gligorov was being driven in the official Mercedes from his home to the Macedonian Parliament, where his cabinet is located. According to Radio Skopje, the President's life is not in danger, he has only received minor bodily injuries and is conscious. The assassination was carried out with a car-bomb. The bomb was placed in a parked car Spacek (Citroen Ami 8) and exploded at the moment when the President's Mercedes with a licence plate SK 001 AA was passing by. The explosive was most probably activated by remote control. Immediately after the assassination attempt, President Gligorov was taken to the City hospital in Skopje, in the intensive care ward, where he was thoroughly examined. Afterwards, he was X-rayed, during which time, as Radio Skopje reports, Gligorov communicated with the doctor on duty, inquiring about the seriousness of his injuries. According to one of the doctors, the President received some minor flesh wounds to the area of his head, and the small particles that were found on his skin were immediately removed. After his examination in the City hospital, the President was taken to the University hospital at the clinics of the Medical Faculty. The chauffeur of the presidential Mercedes Aleksandar Spirovski died as a result of the explosion. One of the passers-by Hristo Manov has been seriously injured and is in a shock-room. Two more passers-by Klime Korobar and Jovan Atanasovski, have received minor injuries. Otherwise, Klime Korobar is the director of the Museum of the City of Skopje, which is located in the direct vicinity of the bomb-scene. Furthermore, according to eyewitness reports, there were also wounded persons in the police BMW, which escorts the President of the Republic. Immediately after the explosion, a vehicle with a Titov Veles licence place was spotted driving away from the spot. After a couple of kilometers, the vehicle was stopped by the police and is still under investigation. Radio Skopje reports that the vehicle is a Renault 25, in which there were 2 male persons dressed in blue suits, who are now being questioned. Radio Skopje also reports that the "assassins are almost found," without revealing the source of this information, or explaining what it means. All roads around Skopje are blocked and the police are stopping and checking all vehicles. All border points have been closed, as well. According to eyewitnesses, the strong explosion has broken all building windows in the direct vicinity. At present, the President is in the University hospital with the Medical faculty, under the close medical supervision of a team of doctors, led by the Minister of Health Ilija Filipche. The President of the Republic was visited in the hospital by his wife Nada Gligorova and the closest members of his family. In its latest report, Radio Skopje says that President Gligorov is conscious and communicating with the doctors. Latest reports say that the ophthalmologists are next in line to examine the President. According to one of the members of the team of doctors, Radio Skopje unofficially reports that the most serious injuries are to one of the President's eyes and that an intervention or minor operation is very likely. In addition, two small pieces of explosive have been noticed in the front part of the President's head. According to the same source, these are the most serious injuries, and the rest are minor compared to these. At 12.00 A.M. Radio Skopje reported that a tomography has been made and that the results are expected. Dr. Jordan Savevski, head of the team of doctors stated that a diagnosis was ready to be set. Dr. Jovica Ugrinovski, neurosurgeon, says that the most serious injuries are to one of the President's eyes, and as concerns the other injuries, they consist of only minor flesh wounds and damages to certain parts of the skin. The two suspects in the Renault 25 are being questioned in the 5th police station in Skopje, together with the other witnesses who happened to be on the spot. As an illustration of the strength of the explosion, the windows from the nearby buildings have all been broken up to the ninth floor. Officials from the Interior Ministry are gathering evidence on the spot. Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and Speaker of Parliament Stojan Andov paid a visit to President Gligorov in the hospital.
STATEMENT BY THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT STOJAN ANDOV Citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, Today, a most devious attempt on the life of the President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov was made. As you have already been informed, the necessary surgical steps have already been taken and at this time, the President is not in a critical condition. The assassination attempt on the President of the Republic of Macedonia is a terrorist act with calculated political aims to destabilize the Republic of Macedonia. It was carried out, not incidentally, at a time when the century-long dream and difficult path of the Macedonian people for their own state and equal role in the world is finally realized. At a moment when the resolution of the situation in the Balkans is in sight, and when all our neighbors and the world came to accept the fact that the Republic of Macedonia is a reality and a factor of peace in the south of the Balkans. The assassination attempt on President Gligorov is an attack against Macedonia's independent and peace-loving position. It is a contemptible act aimed directly against peaceful life, the interests and the well-being of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. Today, this act is condemned by the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who are constantly reacting with wishes for President Gligorov's speedy recovery. At this time, I would like to inform the public that all the necessary security measures have been taken and that there is no reason for fear and concern. There is no power that will change the course of our country's independent and peace-loving policy. And, the executors and commanders of this despicable act will be found and brought before the Court of Justice. Precisely for this reason, as in many other difficult historic moments and temptations, we must be composed, wise and keep the peace in the country, in the hope that our President will recover soon and return to his daily obligations. All the necessary measures to ascertain the organizers and executors of this assassination attempt have been taken, and the public will be kept up to date with the results from the investigation. I would like to thank all those numerous citizens who are constantly inquiring about the President's health condition and are expressing their wishes for his speedy recovery.
REACTIONS TO ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION Macedonian political parties reacted to today's attempt on the life of Macedonian President Gligorov. The first to react was MAAK - Conservative party, which strongly condemned this act of terrorism, assessing that it not only destabilizes Macedonia, but the whole of the Balkans as well. The Civil- Liberal Party called on its members to stay calm, while the Republican Party stated that this was an act on the part of Macedonia's enemies. The Association of Macedonian Muslims announced that the culprits come from the lines of Macedonia's enemies, who are against peace in the country. Ace Gocevski, secretary executive of the Liberal Party says that the LP hopes that Gligorov will soon recover and return to his duties. PDP considers this is a terroristic act and wishes Gligorov a soon recovery so as to continue his noble work. NDP accuses this act that can lead to destabilization in the country and the region at large, just at the time Macedonia is trying to solve the problems. SDSM is energetically condemning the terrorist act against Gligorov as an attempt to diverge the country's policy from democracy. VMRO-DPMNE condemns the act, Ljupco Georgievski says: We are all excited by this terrorist act that does not fit in with a democratic country and I think this act makes all the people feel to be endangered. As far as tomorrow's planned demonstrations are concerned, our stance is to cancel all such activities not because we have changed our views, but because of the latest event. DP is horrified by the incident, Mira Kostic reports from its news conference, and calls the citizens to remain calm and that the serious problems of Macedonia can only be solved with political means and in a peaceful way. Petar Gosev from the USA sends a message in which he stresses that only democratic measures can help solve the problems. Macedonian National Party says this is a blow not only against Gligorov, but also against Macedonia. Macedonian National Front shares the same feelings and hopes the executors will be soon identified. Party of Democratic Action-Democratic Alliance is also condemning this vandal act. The heads of a couple of diplomatic missions in Macedonia also came out with reactions. The Russian Ambassador Yuri Trusin stated for the Macedonian media that he wished Macedonia a quick recovery from this event and to continue on the path of peace and democracy. French Ambassador Patric Crisman stated France was deeply touched by this unpleasant event and that the French public held President Gligorov and his politics in highest regard. Jozica Kuhar, Slovenian Ambassador to Macedonia, said the Slovenian public was bittered by this act, describing it as an attack on the constructive way of solving problems. Numerous telegrams arrive from all over the country with wishes for soon recovery, as well as from heads of state: Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Serbia, and other international organizations. German ambassador says that the German people and government are shocked by the attempt against Gligorov. Bulgarian ambassador Angel Dimitrov says that he is distressed by the attack against Gligorov because terrorism never solves the problems. Milan Kucan's Cabinet sends telegram to Gligorov with wishes for soon recovery. Croat mass media regularly informs about the incident. Papandreou sends a telegram to Gligorov with wishes for soon recovery. EU officials in Brussels and Hans van Der Brook issued a statement in which they condemn the act. Montenegro -- the people condemns the attack as an attack also against democracy and prosperity. PDP states that this act was done by people who do not wish Macedonia well-being.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE CABINET OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA Assassination attempt was performed at 9.45 against the President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov today in which the President was injured on the head and was hospitalized in the Town Surgical Hospital. According to the report of the medical staff in the Medical University "Kiril i Metodij" in Skopje it is necessary to undertake surgical intervention. The statement stresses that in the incident the driver Aleksandar Spirovski was murdered, while the security worker Ilco Teovski was injured and is in hospital. According to the first investigations, the attempt took place in front of Hotel Bristol on Makedonija St. Just after the attempt all necessary measures were undertaken and investigation is in course. The statement released from the Cabinet of the President of Macedonia says that an official information on the event is expected, as well as a medical bulletin from the competent bodies.
INTERIOR MINISTRY OFFICIAL STATEMENT At about 9.45, in Makedonija St., unknown people made an assassination attempt against Gligorov who was immediately transported to the Town Hospital and is now in the State Clinic. Aleksandar Spirkovski was killed in the incident, while five other persons were injured. Border crossings are under strict control and all officers are included in the control. Witnesses are called to hearing, and detailed scrutiny is done in the area of the event, beside all measures that have been undertaken for detecting the doers. Special units have also been included. General Attorney and expert team of Interior Ministry are making investigations. The car bomb was parked across Hotel Bristol. It was a Cytroen Ami 8 with Kumanovo registration and the explosive, 20 kilos, was in the back of the car. There was sand in the car and the explosion was most probably directed with remote control. The president was on the front seat near the driver. Several persons suspected to be involved in the attempt are arrested. All hospitals are being searched out to find out persons that were incidentally injured. U.S. assistance is asked for detailed investigation, as well as assistance from other friendly countries. Interior Ministry will keep the public regularly informed.
STATEMENT BY TORE BOGH - HEAD OF OSCE MISSION IN SKOPJE "The OSCE mission in Skopje received with horror the terrible news about the attack against the life of the Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. All of us in the OSCE hope that the President is recovering. We are certainly disturbed to the outmost by this tragic event in which was lost the life of at least one person. These are precisely those forces against which inside Macedonia but also the whole international public must fight and oppose in the future if a peaceful future is wanted for the Balkans. All we can say now is that the President will recover and continue his extraordinary duty in the stabilization of the country that he has hitherto always done for the benefit of all the people living in it.
REACTIONS IN GREECE Media in Greece have covered the attempt against President Gligorov very urgently and in extraordinary news. They all say that Gligorov has survived the attempt but pieces of information are very confusing. Some mass media even sent their journalists to Skopje. Ljupco Arsovski, head of Macedonian delegation in Athens, did not make any comment after he was informed about the attempt. The negotiations in Athens started half an hour ago after the information on the attempt, but there are no information about the course of the negotiations. Some Greek media connect the attempt with the recent threats that were conveyed to Mr. Gligorov because of the signing of the Interim Accord with Greece. In Greece it was published that Gligorov was accused for treason by some extremists, while some Greek extremists made the same accusations against the Greek government because of the mentioned Accord signed in New York. MEDICAL BULLETIN ON THE HEALTH CONDITION OF PRESIDENT GLIGOROV On 3 October 1995, at 10.10 o'clock the President of the Republic of Macedonia Mr. Gligorov was received in the Surgical Town Hospital in Skopje. At the reception he was conscious, communicative, with injuries of the head, face, and legs and arms. He was extended an urgent medical assistance and after the reanimation he was transferred to the Surgical Clinics of the Medical Faculty in Skopje. The diagnosis was made by a team of doctors that were selected by the Minister of Health after which it was decided to undertake surgical intervention with the aim of preventing possible complications. In relation to the health condition of President Gligorov there will be regular medical bulletins.
GLIGOROV BEING OPERATED ON Radio Skopje reports from the hospital that President Gligorov is being operated on the front part of the head and the right eye, that foreign experts have been consulted, and that Gligorov's condition is good for now. Three more injured are hospitalized in the Clinic. Radio Skopje also reports that French medical experts are on their way to Skopje.
STATEMENTS BY LEGAL AND CRIMINAL EXPERTS Prof. Vlado Kambovski says that this is a classic terrorist act against the state establishment and it is not considered a political act, according to international law. The worst penalty is 20 years of imprisonment, according to our criminal code. Grozdan Cvetkovski -- experienced official in state security department says it is a politically selective terrorist act with the aim of causing destabilization and fear among the citizens, as well as propaganda publicity. MUTUAL RECOGNITION NEXT MONTH? The President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov stayed on a one-day working visit to Belgrade yesterday, at the invitation of the President of Serbia Slobodan Milosevich. Following his return to Skopje, Gligorov told the press that, in the longer and useful discussion, he had "reiterated the position and interest of the Republic of Macedonia for the development of good-neighborly relations, which is necessary to be preceded by mutual recognition and the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the Republic of Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia." He said that in the talks with Milosevich, they had both "concluded that the restoration of normal relations between the two countries is in the interests of the stability in the south of the Balkans, especially after the signing of the Greek-Macedonian Accord." At the insistence of the journalists to specify when this mutual recognition would take place, Gligorov said that he expected "an agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be signed by the end of this month, meanwhile, the competent organs of Macedonia and FR Yugoslavia would take the necessary measures so as to enable this to take place some time next month." When asked whether this recognition would go in the same packet with the other former Yugoslav republics, Gligorov said that "Macedonia is not a part of the packet, since it did not take part in the war and it doesn't have any greater misunderstandings with its northern neighbor." The President of the Republic told reporters that he and Milosevich agreed that "following the lifting of the UN sanctions against FR Yugoslavia, conditions for the development of normal economic relations would be created, as well as cooperation between the two countries and broader in the region, which would improve the present economic cooperation between the Balkan countries considerably." Gligorov and Milosevich also discussed the developments in the broader region, whereby Gligorov reiterated Macedonia's support of the U.S. peace initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. "I expressed the conviction that the orientation for joining the Balkan countries toward the European integrations is the best alternative for the stability in the Balkans," Gligorov stated.
MILOSEVICH: RESTORATION OF NORMAL RELATIONS SOON Serbian President Slobodan Milosevich yesterday applauded the recently signed agreement between Macedonai and Greece, and signalled that it could result with the mutual recognition of Belgrade and Skopje. "The recent agreement between Athens and Skopje will, without doubt, contribute to a positive political situation in the region," Milosevich said in the statement conveyed from his Cabinet, following his meeting with President Kiro Gligorov, in Belgrade. "The restoration of normal relations between Belgrade and Skopje and Skopje-Athens must be achieved as soon as possible, in order to retain the positive development of political events," Milosevich said.
CONSENSUS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF ECONOMIC RELATIONS There is full accord among the Bulgarian state institutions and political powers over the necessity to develop economic relations with the Republic of Macedonia, the Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev stated yesterday. In reference to the talks with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbruk, Zhelev assessed that those relations were presently at a standstill, but not at Bulgaria's fault. The Bulgarian President stated that there was also general agreement in the country over Sofia's participation in the so-called Mini Marshall plan for the renovation of the destroyed regions in former Yugoslavia, as well as Bulgaria's participation in GATT. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, who also had a meeting with Holbruk, stated that they discussed issues from the field of infrastructure in the Balkans, especially the corridors East-West and North-South, as well as relations between Bulgaria and NATO. Videnov added that Bulgaria will continue with the same course of politic in the Balkans of not leaning toward any of the warring sides.
MACEDONIAN-GREEK TALKS The negotiations between the expert delegations from Macedonia and Greece are scheduled to start in Athens today. This was officially announced yesterday by the press representative of the Greek Government, Tilemahos Kitidis. The meeting of the experts, as Kitidis said, will take place in the Greek Foreign Ministry, and will focus on the "technical questions" from the implementation of the Accord, signed in New York. The liaisons offices in Athens and Skopje will be opened for a couple of days, the newspaper of the moderate left-wing "Elefterotipia" claimed yesterday. The Athens newspaper emphasizes that according to their function, the offices will work as diplomatic missions of the two countries. The pro-government "Ta Nea" points out that the primary issues that will be discussed in the upcoming meeting are the opening of diplomatic missions, the "permits for the entry of Skopians," in Greece, as well as documents for the flow of goods through the border. According to unofficial sources in Athens, the meeting of the two delegations will last between five and seven days. The delegation of the Macedonian Foreign Ministry left for Athens yesterday, the Foreign Ministry announced. (END)