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Bulgaria: Interim Cabinet Holds First Meeting Today

Sofia, 13 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's new interim Cabinet held its first meeting today and said alleviating the country's paralyzing fuel crisis would be its first priority. One of the new Cabinet's first acts was to sack the board of directors of the Neftohim refinery. Interim Prime Minister, Sofia mayor Stefan Sofianski, also will visit the refinery today.

The interim Cabinet also established a Financial Stabilization Council to implement economic policy and negotiate with international lenders. The council will hold its first meeting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, RFE/RL's correspondent in Sofia reports that the European Union (EU) is sending missions to Bulgaria to work with the caretaker Cabinet.

Bulgarian ambassador to the EU, Evgeni Ivanov, said in Brussels today that the EU mission is expected in Sofia by the end of the month. The mission will see how much financial assistance is required in Bulgaria. Our correspondent reports concrete figures will be announced after the mission, but that Bulgaria is hoping for 350-million dollars.

President Stoyanov has insisted that the European aid should arrive immediately and not be held pending an agreement between Bulgaria and the IMF.

The total amount of aid by the EU, the World Bank and the G-7 is expected to reach 1,000-million dollars.