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Bulgarian leader inaugurates int”l Balkan conference

SOFIA, Oct 6 (KUNA) — Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov on Saturday inaugurated an international conference organized by NGOs on the Balkans’ issues.
The gathering, co-organized by the Balkan Political Club and a European organization for defence of democracies, attracted all former presidents of Balkan countries and chiefs of European and Balkan non-government human rights and social development organizations, as well as representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
Addressing the conference, the Bulgarian president said Bulgaria was especially affected by human smuggling channels, which emerged in the region due to poverty, organized crimes and dearth of extradition agreements.
Parvanov condemned human smuggling as a new serfdom, which had begun to take serious dimensions.
Great efforts have been exerted over recent years to combat human smuggling channels, including the revision of relevant pieces of legislation and new concrete measures against the phenomenon, he added.
On his part, former Bulgarian president and chairman of the conference Jeliou Jelev said the gathering would not only mull over theoretical rules but it would discuss hot issues in the Balkans as well.
He listed such issues as the promotion of modern communications among countries, energy infrastructure, peace, security, democracy and open markets.