Arms Production and Incentives for Export
Bulgaria produces a range of weapons, munitions, and related military equipment, and most of its arms products are considered by military experts to be reliable and relatively inexpensive. The country is known for manufacturing handguns, assault rifles (including several models of the Kalashnikov, such as the AK-47 and AK-74), mortars, antitank mines, ammunition, and explosives. Its staple export items are small arms and ammunition, which use relatively simple technology and are correspondingly cheap. In addition, Bulgaria also produces more sophisticated optical, radar, and communication equipment, as well as surface-to-air missiles and armored personnel carriers. Most of Bulgarias production is Soviet-standard equipment initially produced under Soviet license and now manufactured under Russian license, but in the 1990s Bulgaria began moving toward producing NATO-standard equipment. It was expected to continue to emphasize the production of small arms and light weapons.47
Aggressive efforts to boost Bulgarias arms sales, including through sales to areas of violent conflict and participation in questionable deals over the course of the decade of the 1990s, reflect the complex web of factors driving the countrys arms exports. In part, commercial interests have motivated the countrys arms sales. As experience in the 1980s demonstrated, the global trade in weapons can be a highly lucrative venture. Although market conditions were less favorable in the 1990s, the countrys arms manufacturers and exporters still had a direct stake in working to make the arms business thrive: aggressive promotion of arms sales offered arms company executives a way to keep their companies afloat during lean times. In fact, financial pressures on the industry may have increased the already considerable commercial incentives to accommodate suspicious arms deals.
The military has likewise been motivated to sell surplus weapons from its arsenal. Such weapons, aging stock left over from the national armed forces, are commonly resold by arms producing countries to clients seeking to purchase weapons cheaply. For Bulgaria, like other arms producers, selling surplus weapons is cheaper than storing or destroying the excess stock. For example, in November 1998 a defense official reportedly stated that destroying tanks and selling them for scrap cost U.S.$4,000 per tank and earned a profit of only U.S.$2,000, while exported tanks can fetch U.S.$30,000 each without spare parts.48 The profits from such sales are kept by the defense ministry and can offset shrinking budgets and help finance planned purchases of new equipment.49 (See The Prospect of Joining NATO, below.)
Personal economic gain also has been a common factor. The liberal payment of commissions, bribes, and kick-backs to individuals who facilitate arms dealsranging from the top executives who negotiate sales to the customs officers who let them pass out of the countryare a common feature of the global arms trade.50 Bulgaria, with its widespread corruption, hardly has been immune from such practices. In fact, one defense analyst was quoted in 1995 as saying that it is easy to pay a customs official a years salary to facilitate an illicit arms transaction.51 In 1994 a scandal broke out over large commissions and bribes allegedly paid to military officers for a sale of surplus weapons to southernYemeni forces.52 In 1998 a military official was alleged to have illegally accepted U.S.$50,000 from arms manufacturing companies,53 and the head of a state-owned arms trading company reportedly was under investigation for misappropriation of funds.54
Historically some players in Bulgarias arms trade have viewed the promotion of arms exports as vital to the national interests of the country. Faced with the industry crisis in the early 1990s, for example, many arms industry representatives and military officials advanced the argument that a domestic arms industry is essential to making the country strong and enabling it to counter threats. Arms exports, by this view, keep production lines open and thereby provide the means to keep alive an industry essential to the countrys defensedespite the hidden costs.55 In the late 1990s this view continued to be associated with some individuals in the military and the arms industry, as well as with members of opposition political parties, particularly the Bulgarian Socialist Party.56
The impulses described above, particularly those of the countrys arms manufacturers and exporters, can overlap with the interests of the government. Because Bulgarias arms manufacturing firms are state-owned, as are its major arms trading companies, their commercial success affects the governments coffers, as well as the overall state of the economy. In 1992, when arms exports were in sharp decline, the Kintex trading firm reportedly continued to be Bulgarias largest single source of hard currency earnings.57 Bulgaria, like many post-communist countries, needs foreign exchange earnings to service its large foreign debt.
The effect of arms sales on employment is illustrative. The 1990-92 period saw the loss of 50,000 arms industry jobs.58 In response to fears about job security and wages, arms factory workers held strikes in late 1992 and called for government action to boost arms exports.59 In 1995, after a year of expanded arms exports, the industry supported an estimated 500,000 jobs at a time of 12 percent unemployment.60
In 1998 Bulgaria had some twenty arms manufacturing companies that employed approximately 42,000 people at over one hundred factories. These companies were engaged in civilian as well as military production, and eight of them did not produce arms for export. All of the companies were state-owned.61 In addition, the Defense Ministry directly owned repair facilities that were also engaged in a combination of military and civilian production.62
Five major companies dominated Bulgarias arms production and together accounted for approximately eighty percent of the countrys arms exports.63 One company, Arsenal, was especially prominent, producing small arms, including the Kalashnikov assault rifle, almost entirely for export, mostly to Africa.64 Reportedly only 2 to 3 percent of its sales in 1997 were for the Bulgarian army,65 and in 1998 Arsenal did not sell any weapons domestically.66 This is not unusual; of Bulgarias total arms production, it has been estimated that only about 4 percent is needed by the Bulgarian army.67
The arms sector continues to be a large employer, but the jobs it offers are not secure. In October 1998, for example, the government announced that 4,000 jobs in the arms industry would have to be eliminated.68 Trade unions expressing concerns about unpaid wages and the possibility of more lay-offs threatened strikes in early 1999.69 In this context, it would not be surprising if the government-appointed directors of Bulgarias arms firmsas well as elected government officialsfelt considerable pressure to generate income through arms exports in order to sustain the industry and the jobs it provides.70
According to Bulgarian officials and foreign diplomats, the government faces significant political pressure with respect to the national arms industry. They stated that opposition parties, particularly the BSP, criticized the government for not supporting the arms industry. In a climate in which the military is also undergoing painful changes and strong dissent against reforms has been voiced from some quarters, they fear that such criticisms have the potential to sow social unrest.71
The Trade in Surplus Weapons
Most of Bulgarias post-cold war exports of large military equipment, such as tanks and armored combat vehicles, have involved surplus weapons no longer required by the Bulgarian army. Although it often has to destroy what it cannot sell, Bulgaria has chosen to export its surplus weapons whenever possible.72 Such sales have been prominentthroughout the decade: of five confirmed sales by Bulgaria of tanks or armored combat vehicles from 1990 to 1997, four have comprised items from surplus Bulgarian stocks.73 In 1993, for example, Bulgaria sold Angola twenty-four surplus T-62 tanks and twenty-nine surplus BMP-1 armored combat vehicles from its arsenal, and it also delivered twenty-one surplus BMP-1s originating in Belarus.74 The arms exports were officially acknowledged by the Bulgarian government, which reported them to the United Nations the following year.
In 1994 the Defense Ministry sold more than sixty tanks as well as used mine-throwers from its surplus stocks to separatist forces in southern Yemen that fought a brief and unsuccessful civil war that year.75 This was a highly lucrative deal that reportedly earned some military officials large commissions.76 The deputy defense minister stated thathad they not been exportedthe ministry would have had to destroy the tanks and sell them for scrap to meet its obligations under the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.77
The CFE Treaty established upper limits on the holdings of heavy military equipment of signatory countries. It required those countries, members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, to reduce inventories of several categories of weapons to prescribed levels by November 1995 and to maintain holdings at or below that level thereafter. At the time the treaty went into force in 1992, signatory countries were able to set aside any equipment that they declared as awaiting export and these were not counted toward their initial reduction requirements, but other heavy equipment in excess of treaty limits had to be destroyed.78 After treaty reduction requirements were met for the 1995 deadline,79 individual signatory countries were able to elect how to dispose of any subsequently created excess weapons stocks.80
Bulgaria has exported excess heavy weapons since late 1995, often citing its ongoing treaty obligations as a rationale for exporting such weapons.81 According to a 1997 U.S. government report, Bulgaria declared that it had a considerable amount of surplus equipment awaiting export that year.82 In April 1998 the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense reportedly announced that it was offering 200 old T-55 tanks for sale.83 By the end of the year the government had sold 140 surplus T-55 tanks to Ethiopia and Uganda, at a profit of U.S.$4.4 million, and had a deal pending for the sale of eighty more tanks.84 In February 1999 Bulgaria announced that it would donate 150 tanks and 150 artillery pieces from its arsenal to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.85
Such sales and transfers are likely to continue into the future. The countrys military modernization plan, which is linked to its desire to join NATO, is expected to generate additional surplus stocks (see The Prospect of Joining NATO, below). In addition, discussions are underway to modify the CFE Treaty, in part by setting lower national ceilings for at least some countries.86 If the new ceilings require Bulgaria to further reduce its national inventory of heavy equipment, treaty modification may enhance the countrys incentives to export surplus items. Regardless, Bulgaria has announced its intention to export what it can from its surplus stocks: the defense minister was quoted in late 1998 as saying, We are selling and will be selling these [surplus] weapons.87
Arms Trading Companies
Three major state-owned trading firms dominate the countrys arms trade. Kintex is the countrys oldest and most important arms exporter. Since its founding in 1966 as Texim, the company has been responsible for the bulk of Bulgarias arms exports, and it is the primary distributor for most of the countrys small arms and light weapons. Kintex also ranks as one of the most notorious arms trading firms in the world,88 with involvement in questionable arms dealsincluding illicit transactionsspanning several decades.89
Armimex, the second key arms trading company, was formed in 1992 as the successor to the Main Engineering Directorate of the Bulgarian Defense Ministry. It primarily exports small arms, but it holds a full arms trading license that permits it to trade in any category of weapon.90
The third major arms trading company is Teraton, which specializes in sales of more sophisticated optical and radar equipment. It markets itself as a broad-based arms trading firm offering arms and ammunition of Bulgarian or Russian manufacture.91 Teraton and Kintex are directly state-owned: in both cases the board of directors is appointed by the government, and ownership is exercised by the trade ministry.92 Armimex, while also state-owned, is constituted as a joint-stock company owned by a consortium of state arms manufacturers. It has both a board of directors appointed by the shareholder companies and a supervisory council appointed directly by the government.93
Beyond these three major trading firms, other companies are also involved in Bulgarias arms trade. These include smaller state-owned arms trading companies, such as Elmet Engineering, and a department of the defense ministry that is authorized to export excess equipment from Bulgarias military arsenal.94 They also include all of Bulgarias arms manufacturing companies, which are government-owned.95 The countrys arms producers have been eligible for arms export licenses since 1994,96 and have been active in the arms trade. For example, Arsenalthe renowned producer of the Bulgarian version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle and one of the countrys largest weapons manufacturersreportedly sells more than half its production independently.97 Finally, private Bulgarian companies also are eligible for arms export licenses.98 A total of approximately thirty companiesall but a few of them state-ownedheld arms trade licenses as of February 1999.99 The state-owned arms trading firmsparticularly Kintex and Armimexdominate the field, but it cannot be assumed that any of Bulgarias arms transfers necessarily involve one of those firms.
Transport Companies and Transshipment
Bulgarias involvement in the international arms trade goes beyond the actions of Bulgarian trading companies to negotiate exports of Bulgarian arms. Bulgaria is also implicated in the shipment of weapons to regions of armed conflict and to abusive forces. Many times the weapons being shipped originate in Bulgaria, and the shipments therefore constitute direct Bulgarian exports, but this is not always the case. Weapons originating elsewhere also pass through Bulgarian territory on their way to their ultimate destination.
Bulgaria has repeatedly served as a country of transshipment. A number of cargo companies that until January 1998 were based at Ostend airport in Belgium used to go Bulgaria to pick up weapons.100 In particular, Burgas airport in Bulgarias free-trade area on the Black Sea has been an important hub for the collection of weapons for onward flight to Africa and elsewhere.101 Similarly, a Ukrainian company reportedly arranged in 1995 for weapons to be transported to Sofia, from where they were said to have been flown to Kenya and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) for use by Rwandan Hutu rebels (see Rwanda, below).
Bulgaria has also been implicated in arms deliveries through the actions of private Bulgarian transport companies. In 1994, for example, Bulgarian cargo planes were used to ferry weapons to the Angolan government (see Angola, below). Although other companies have been involved in arms deliveries, one private Bulgarian charter airlineAir Sofiais known to be a major weapons carrier.
Air Sofia has been chartered to deliver weapons to a range of destinations, from Africa to South America. In one prominent example, it was involved in repeated arms shipments to Eritrea in mid-1998.102 In July 1998, one month after an armed border dispute broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia, it shipped at least nine cargo loads of weapons from Bulgaria to Eritrea in a one-week period. The New York Times, which reported the arms flights later that month, stated that the airline ferried Bulgarian-made Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition, and grenades aboard Ukrainian cargo planes, and that it had ten more flights scheduled from Burgas to the Eritrean capital of Asmara in the following days.103 One Air Sofia flight crashed near Asmara in the early hours of July 17, 1998, and it is believed that the plane carried weapons on board.104
The arms Air Sofia has ferried are not always manufactured in Bulgaria, nor flown through Bulgarian territory. On April 9, 1995, for example, an Air Sofia plane was detained in Cape Verde after one hundred tons of weapons were discovered on board during a stopover.105 The flight was en route to Ecuador, where a border war with Peru hadbroken out a few weeks earlier.106 The plane did not carry Bulgarian weapons, nor did it transit through Bulgaria; instead, it was said to have originated in Belarus.107
Bulgaria is also involved in the arms trade through the actions of private actors who facilitate arms deals by acting as intermediaries between the exporter and the ultimate importer. Such arms brokers include private Bulgarian firms that hold arms trading licenses.108 Individuals with military backgrounds or with past experience in the Bulgarian arms industry reportedly have established private companies to broker arms deals on the basis of past contacts.109
Although one would hope that most brokered arms deals are entirely legitimate, that is not always the case. For example, as noted above, two Lithuanian nationals operating from the United States brokered a deal to illegally supply Bulgarian surface-to-air missiles to a Colombian drug cartel in Miami, with help from a broker in Bulgaria who arranged transport for the planned shipment to Puerto Rico (see Undiscriminating Arms Exports, above.)
The government has stated that in some cases private brokers acting outside government controland sometimes outside Bulgarias bordershave involved Bulgaria in arms supplies that are not sanctioned by the government. For example, the Bulgarian Embassy in the United States responded to evidence of Bulgarian weapons found in Sudan in 1997 by stating that such weapons may have been provided via private traders. More broadly, officials and others interviewed in Bulgaria said that they believe unscrupulous individuals, some of them associated with past governmentsparticularly the intelligence servicesand the arms industry, have taken part in illicit or questionable arms deals. They stated that, while some foreigners were believed to be involved, most of these brokers were Bulgarian nationals. They did not specify whether these individuals were licensed to trade in weapons.110
Illegally Obtained Weapons
Bulgarian press accounts describe illegal arms factories engaged in small-scale production, and other cases in which arms are stolen from factory or military stockpiles. Such illegally acquired weapons are generally used in cross-border arms trafficking.111 In several cases, police sources have attributed cross-border arms smuggling to criminal networks.112 In April 1997 Bulgarias new interior minister stated that many top police and enforcement officials werelinked to organized criminal groups suspected of engaging in cross-border arms smuggling and other illegal activities.113
Military equipment is occasionally stolen from military storage sites in Bulgaria. To the extent that weapons are illegally acquired from military stocks, such thefts may involve military personnel. An official audit commission uncovered large-scale military corruption and theft in a November 1997 report.114 According to defense officials, however, such incidents are uncommon and involve small quantities of equipment that are usually destined to criminal groups in nearby countries rather than abusive military forces.115 A diplomat who agreed that the problem was limited said that thefts of army weapons arose from the difficult circumstances of the military, which include lack of sufficient food for troops.116
47 Plamen Pantev, Valeri Ratchev, and Tilcho Ivanov, Bulgaria and the European Union in the Process of Building a Common European Defence, September 1996, available via the Internet at: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isis/resstu03.htm#rs3_3.3.
48 The article attributed the information to Colonel Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff of the Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, who gave a press conference to announce sales of surplus equipment. 140 Tanks Sold to Africa, Trud (Sofia), November 27, 1998. See also, Pari Daily (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, November 27, 1998.
49 Surplus weapons exports are negotiated directly by the Bulgarian defense ministry, which has been licensed to trade in weapons since the mid-1990s, or through authorized intermediaries (see Arms Trading Companies, below). Income from arms sales was deposited in a general defense fund until December 1998, when a separate Ministry of Defense account was established. Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, and Col. Todor Malchev, Head of Section, Procurement and Trade Department, Ministry of Defense, Sofia, February 5, 1999
50 Hull and Markove, Trends in the Arms Market.
51 Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp.
52 BTA News Agency (Sofia), September 2, 1994, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, September 5, 1994.
53 Demokratsiya (Sofia), August 5, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, August 6, 1998.
54 Bulgaria Press Digest, Reuters, December 10, 1998.
55 The national security argument has been presented in a number of local Bulgarian commentaries. See, for example, Duma (Sofia), May 27, 1996, in FBIS, East Europe, May 30, 1996.
56 Human Rights Watch interviews with an official at the Bulgarian Embassy to the United States, Washington, D.C., November 11, 1998; and with Dimitar Abadjiev, Member of Parliament (UDF), Sofia, February 8, 1999. In addition, other observers supported this claim. Human Rights Watch interviews with a Bulgarian journalist and a foreign diplomat, Sofia, February 1999.
57 Peter Fuhrman, The Heart of the Illegal Trade.
58 Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp.
59 Bulgarian Railroad Blocked by Arms Workers, Reuters Library Report, November 20, 1992.
60 Beck, Bulgaria Aims to Revamp. In 1996, approximately 12 percent of Bulgarias workforce was employed by the arms industry. International News, Associated Press, February 22, 1996.
61 Of those arms manufacturers that detailed their ownership structure in an industry catalogue, all were at least 70 percent owned directly by the state. The remaining shares were held by Metalchim Holding, a joint-stock company that is itself owned by state arms manufacturers. Defense Industry Companies: Reference, Republic of Bulgaria, Ministry of Industry, undated (contains information current as of the third quarter of 1997). The industry catalogue lists twenty-two companies, but a government official indicated that there were twenty-five arms producers as of February 1999. Written Response to Questions Submitted by Human Rights Watch, prepared by Blagoy Guenov, transmitted on February 5, 1999.
62 Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, and Col. Todor Malchev, Head of Section, Procurement and Trade Department, Ministry of Defense, Sofia, February 5, 1999
63 Elisaveta Konstantinova, Bulgaria Tries to Sell Its Arms Industry, Reuters, May 6, 1998.
64 Three-quarters of its artillery armaments and more than 50 percent of its machine guns and ammunition are for the African market. Most of the remainder is exported to Asia. Defense Industry Companies: Reference, p. 6.
65 The company earned a profit of approximately U.S.$500,000 (82 million Lv) from arms exports in 1998, according to its executive director. Bulgarian Press Digest, Reuters Business Briefing, December 21, 1998, citing Trud (Sofia).
67 International News, Associated Press.
68 Bulgarian Defense Workers to Lose Jobs, RFE/RL Newsline, October 14, 1998.
69 One trade union expressed concern that as many as 20,000 jobs in the arms sector would be lost in the upcoming year. Pari Daily (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, December 2, 1998; Duma (Sofia), January 14, 1999, in FBIS, East Europe, January 20, 1999; and Bulgarska Armiya (Sofia), January 28, 1999, in FBIS, East Europe, February 1, 1999.
70 In this light, it is interesting to note that, according to a local report, two deputies of the ruling UDF party traveled to central Bulgaria in early 1999 to announce that the Arkus arms company had negotiated a U.S.$15 million deal to export ammunition to an unidentified non-embargo country. The deal reportedly would sustain factory production for one year and allow the company to hire back some workers who had been laid off a few months earlier. Pari Daily (Sofia), January 8, 1999, in FBIS, East Europe, January 11, 1999.
71 Human Rights Watch interviews with Vladimir Philipov, Foreign Affairs Secretary to the President of Bulgaria; Dimitar Abadjiev, Member of Parliament (UDF); Bulgarian journalists; and a foreign diplomat, Sofia, February 1999. Several news reports point to the dismissal of top military officers who allegedly did not support the governments military modernization package and opposed NATO membership as evidence of anti-reform attitudes. See, for example, Demokratsiya (Sofia), March 17, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, March 19, 1998, Demokratsiya (Sofia), November 12, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, November 13, 1998, and Trud (Sofia), November 14, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, November 17, 1998.
72 Human Rights Watch interview with Plamen Radonov, Deputy Minister of Defense, and Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, Sofia, February 9, 1999. In an earlier interview, Col. Stanimirov stated that roughly one-fifth of surplus military equipment was sold, with the remainder being scrapped. Human Rights Watch interview, Sofia, February 5, 1999. A news report in November 1998 indicated that sixty tanks, 150 howitzers, and twenty MiG-21 aircraft were to be destroyed by the end of 1998 because no buyers could be found. Duma (Sofia), November 16, 1998, inFBIS, East Europe, November 17, 1998.
73 The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) tracks confirmed transfers of major conventional weapons, as well as some other weapons systems, and reports on them annually. See, for example, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1998: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
74 The sale of the T-62 tanks was arranged by Kintex, while Armimex negotiated the sale of the BMP-1s. United Nations, United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (New York: United Nations, 1994), A/49/352. The tanks and Bulgarian BMP-1s were surplus weapons belonging to the Bulgarian army, while the Belarussian armored combat vehicles came from surplus army stocks in Belarus. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database.
75 Fifty-six of the tanks were T-62s, and the remaining six were T-55s. Bulgaria originally negotiated to sell sixty-two T-62 tanks. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1995: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 553, and United Nations, United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (New York: United Nations, 1995), A/50/547.
76 The value of the deal, which also included spare parts and munitions, was estimated to be U.S.$20 million. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database. A scandal later erupted over the size of commissions paid to military officers involved in the deal. Philip Finnegan, Yemen - Govt is Asking Either Cash or Around $100 Mil Worth of Military Weapons Ordered by [It] During Its 1994 Civil War, Defense News, April 7, 1997; and BTA News Agency (Sofia), September 2, 1994, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, September 5, 1994.
77 BTA News Agency (Sofia), September 2, 1994, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, September 5, 1994.
78 The treaty required signatory countries to destroy excess stocks or, alternatively, to dispose of them by exceptional means, such as conversion to nonmilitary use and use for target practice. Under the CFE Treaty, Bulgaria was obliged to reduce its stocks to 1,475 battle tanks, 1,750 artillery pieces, 2,000 armored combat vehicles, 67 attack helicopters, and 235 combat aircraft. As of January 1999, Bulgaria was reported to have 1,475 battle tanks, 1,744 artillery pieces, 1,986 armored combat vehicles, 43 attack helicopters, and 233 combat aircraft. Dorn Crawford, Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): A Review and Update of Key Treaty Elements, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, January 1999.
79 Bulgaria was obligated to reduce its tank holdings by more than half to meet CFE requirements, but according to a U.S. intelligence assessment, Bulgaria held 600 more tanks than it had officially declared in 1992. Thomas F. Houlihan, Weapons Acquisition StrategyBulgaria (U), Defense Intelligence Reference Document, August 1994, declassified on May 20, 1997.
80 Additional excess stocks might be generated through new production or through the import of heavy weapons, often inherited from other CFE signatories. The CFE Treaty permits excess military equipment to be exported or cascaded to other signatory countries within the same group (NATO or former Warsaw Pact). Bulgaria has been a beneficiary of cascadedweapons, particularly from the Russian Federation. For an explanation, see Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1997: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 475.
81 See, for example, BTA News Agency, September 2, 1994, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, September 9, 1994; BTA News Agency, BBC Worldwide Monitoring, December 8, 1998; Pari Daily (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, December 8, 1998; Xinhua News Agency, Reuters Business Briefings, December 8, 1998; and Bulgarian Defense Minister Rejects Allegations of Embargo-Busting, RFE/RL Newsline, December 9, 1998.
82 U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), 1997 Annual Report, Chapter 7: Adherence To and Compliance With Arms Control Agreements, available via the Internet at: http://www.acda.gov/reports/annual/chpt7.htm.
83 Trud (Sofia), April 21, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, April 23, 1998.
84 The deal first became known when a defense ministry official announced on November 26, 1998 that the ministry had sold tanks to unspecified African countries. Raymond Bonner, New Weapons Sales to Africa Trouble Arms-Control Experts, New York Times, December 6, 1998, citing a report in Trud (Sofia) ten days earlier. The New York Times obtained confirmation of the sale from the Council of Ministers in a letter from Sylvia Beamish, International Media Relations, Government Information Office, Council of Ministers, dated December 3, 1998. For additional references, see Uganda, below.
85 Pari Daily (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, February 23, 1999. The announcement was repeated by Bulgarias defense minister, Georgi Ananiev, in a press conference at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., March 3, 1999.
86 The Joint Consultative Group met in July 1997 at a regular CFE review conference and agreed to principles that would guide treaty adaptation, which the parties hope to complete by late 1999. Significant reduction in force levels was among the main objectives to which they agreed. Crawford, Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).
87 BTA News Agency (Sofia), BBC Monitoring European-Political, December 8, 1998. This sentiment was echoed by the deputy defense minister and a military official responsible for surplus weapons. Human Rights Watch interview with Plamen Radonov, Deputy Defense Minister for Logistics and Acquisition, Ministry of Defense and Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, February 9, 1999.
88 See, for example, Musah and Castle, Eastern Europes Arsenal. See also the statement by Bulgarias ambassador in Arms Trade Practices below.
89 Kintex was also alleged in the 1980s, in the context of cold war rivalries, to have links to the international drug trade. Rick Atkinson, Heroin Source Alleged; U.S. Links Bulgaria, Drug Traffic, Washington Post, July 25, 1984. The article describes a report submitted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to a congressional task force, and quotes the report as stating that Kintexs drug trafficking was used to generate hard currency and to supply and support several dissident groupsin the Middle East with western arms and ammunition. A 1984 report of a U.S. congressional hearing and a 1986 report by a U.S. presidential commission on organized crime both included allegations about Kintexs involvement in the international drug trade, attributing the claims to the Drug Enforcement Agency. According to a 1990 report in the New York Times, some Western diplomats have questioned the drug allegations. Sudetic, Bulgarians to Share.
90 A local news account in 1998 stated that Armimexs arms trading license would be taken over by Metalchim Holding. Pari Daily (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, March 18, 1998. Armimex has been sued by Russias state-run arms trading company, Rosvooruzhenie, for U.S.$3 million, and its assets were seized under orders of a Sofia court in 1998. RFE/RL Newsline, November 9, 1998.
91 See http://www.teraton.com.
92 Human Rights Watch interview with Vladimir Tourtansky, Senior Advisor, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, Sofia, February 8, 1999.
94 An arms trading license is held by the ministrys Defense Economy Department. Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, and Col. Todor Malchev, Head of Section, Procurement and Trade Department, Ministry of Defense, Sofia, February 5, 1999.
95 Human Rights Watch interview with Vladimir Tourtansky, Senior Advisor, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, and Blagoy Guenov, Secretary, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, Sofia, February 5, 1999.
96 Liliana Semerdjieva, Bulgaria Passes New Arms Trade Licensing Policy, Reuters European Business Report, February 3, 1994.
97 Kontinent (Sofia), January 24, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, January 27, 1998.
98 Press accounts suggest that private companies were first licensed to trade in weapons in March 1996, but an official interviewed in Bulgaria stated that private firms had been eligible for arms trade licenses since 1990. Vladimir Tourtansky, Senior Advisor, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, Sofia, February 8, 1999. See also, Stefan Krause, Bulgarian Roundup, RFE/RL Newsline, March 1, 1996; and 24 Chasa (Sofia), Bulgaria-Two Private Firms Receive Arms Trade Licenses, Periscope Daily Defense News Capsules, August 12, 1996.
99 Written Response to Questions Submitted by Human Rights Watch, prepared by Blagoy Guenov, Secretary, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, transmitted on February 5, 1999.
100 Human Rights Watch interviews with cargo personnel, Belgium, April-May 1998. Many cargo airlines have since moved from Ostend as a result of new European Community noise pollution regulations adopted in January 1998.
101 Human Rights Watch interviews with a U.N. official, Nairobi, August 18, 1997; and with a pilot, Brussels, August 2, 1996.
102 Eritrea has been alleged to provide weapons to Somali faction leader Hussein Mohamed Aideed, in violation of a U.N. arms embargo. Xinhua News Agency, Weapons Flowing into Somalia, February 21, 1999.
103 Raymond Bonner, Despite Cutoff by U.S., Ethiopia and Eritrea Easily Buy Weapons, New York Times, July 23, 1998. The article attributed reports about Air Sofia arms flights to Western officials and Bulgarian press accounts. Turkish aviation officials, who granted permission for Air Sofia to fly in its airspace, were the source of the statement regarding scheduled Air Sofia flights from Burgas to Asmara. Arms flights from Bulgaria to Eritrea were also noted in Karl Vick, On the Road to Mega Tragedy, Washington Post, January 10, 1999.
104 A Ukrainian plane was used in the flight, which originated in Bulgaria. Several accounts indicate that the flight took off from Burgas airport. One report specified that the plane carried approximately ten tons of arms. Arms Cargo Crash, Africa Confidential (London), vol. 38, no. 16 (August 1, 1997). See also, Press Review, BTA News Agency, July 21, 1998, obtained via the Internet at: http://www.b-info.com/places/Bulgaria/news/98-07/jul21e.bta; and Bulgarska Televiziya (Sofia), July 21, 1998, in FBIS, Central Eurasia, July 23, 1998. For a more circumspect analysis, see Paul Harris, Pointers-Ukraine-Concerns Over Crash Losses, Janes Intelligence Review, September 1, 1998. Harris does note that a Bulgarian passenger who was accompanying the cargo was among those killed in the crash.
105 The Portuguese news agency Lusa first reported the story, which was later carried by several media organizations. See, for example, Portugal: Cape Verde Holds Bulgarian Cargo Plane, Reuters, April 10, 1995; Cape Verde Still Holds BulgarianPlane With Arms, Reuters, April 18, 1995; Stephan Krause, Cape Verde Holds Bulgarian Cargo Plane, RFE/RL Newsline: OMRI Daily Digests, April 10, 1995; and BTA News Agency (Sofia), April 10, 1995, in BBC Monitoring Service: Central Europe and Balkans, April 11, 1995.
106 The flight schedule indicated that Quito was the destination. Cape Verde Holds Bulgarian Cargo Plane, Reuters. Cape Verdian authorities reportedly confirmed that Ecuador was expecting the shipment. Cape Verde Still Holds Bulgarian Plane, Reuters.
107 Bulgarians Say Detained Arms are Not Bulgarian, RFE/RL Newsline: OMRI Daily Digests, April 11, 1995.
108 Human Rights Watch interview with Vladimir Tourtansky, Senior Advisor, Interministerial Council on Defense Industry and Logistics, Council of Ministers, Sofia, February 8, 1999.
109 Human Rights Watch interview with a Bulgarian journalist, Sofia, February 1999.
110 Human Rights Watch interviews with government officials and with foreign diplomats, Sofia, February 1999. In March 1999 the Bulgarian ambassador to the United States declared, referring to Bulgarian-Russian intelligence ties: We cannot guarantee as a whole that there are not still some remnants of such attachments. A good part of the former intelligence services moved to another job now: they formed what is known as the mafia. Philip Dimitrov, Ambassador to the United States, Press Conference at the Bulgarian Embassy, Washington, D.C., March 3, 1999.
111 See, for example, Trud (Sofia), January 11, 1996, in FBIS, East Europe, January 22, 1996; Standart News (Sofia), February 12, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, February 15, 1998; Capital Weekly (Sofia), Reuters Business Briefing, July 11, 1998; BTA News Agency (Sofia), October 2, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, October 6, 1998; Bulgarian Television (Sofia), October 5, 1998, in FBIS, East Europe, October 8, 1998; and Standart News (Sofia), FBIS, East Europe, November 21, 1998. For an older account of smuggling through Bulgaria, including cross-border gun-running, see Drugs from the ex-Soviet Union,Janes Foreign Report, August 20, 1992.
112 Standart News (Sofia), FBIS, East Europe, November 21, 1998.
113 Petko Georgiev, Bulgaria: Mafia Scandal Overshadows Elections, RFE/RL, April 18, 1997.
114 In a press conference, the defense minister and army chief of staff said these problems had been prevalent under the previous government. Bulgarian Commission Unveils Corruption in Army, RFE/RL Newsline. Twenty-five officers were reportedly dismissed on the basis of the commissions findings. Bulgarian President in Japan, RFE/RL Newsline, November 17, 1997, referring to an article in the November 14, 1997 edition of Standart News (Sofia).
115 Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Hristo Stanimirov, Chief of Staff, Defense Economy Department, Ministry of Defense, and Col. Todor Malchev, Head of Section, Procurement and Trade Department, Ministry of Defense, Sofia, February 5, 1999.
116 Human Rights Watch interview with a foreign diplomat, Sofia, February 1999.