Stoyan Ganev, a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Bulgaria in the government of Philip Dimitrov and a former chairman of the United Nations General Assembly, has died at the age of 57.
Ganev, who died in hospital in Connecticut after a long illness, was born in Pazardzhik and graduated from Sofia University’s Faculty of Law in 1979. He defended a thesis on constitutional law at Moscow University in 1985, later lecturing on the subject at Sofia University, and on international politics and law at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Germany and at Rotary International.
Ganev was prominent in anti-communist politics in Bulgaria in the 1990s and from April 1990 to May 1993 was co-chairman of the United Democratic Centre, a constituent member of the Union of Democratic Forces. From October 1992 to May 1993 he was chairman of the United Christian Democratic Union.
He also chaired a co-ordinating body on Bulgaria’s accession to the Council of Europe and was the Dimitrov government’s chief envoy on negotiations on Bulgaria’s eventual membership of what was to become the European Union.
As Foreign Minister, Ganev, during a visit to the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) in Brussels in 1991, launched the idea of convening a tripartite meeting of the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
In December 1991, at the inaugural session of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in Brussels, he proposed for the meeting’s concluding document items on the need for assistance to achieve economic reforms in Eastern Europe and on the importance of regional security structures as an element in overall European security.
As a participant at the fourth follow-up Helsinki meeting of member States of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in March 1991, Ganev addressed the need for promoting the CSCE process in south-eastern Europe by convening a forum of the Balkan States and the countries adjoining the region. He also proposed Bulgaria as host for bilateral and multilateral talks in the framework of the Middle East peace process.
After his term at the UN, he lived and taught in the United States until returning to Bulgaria to serve as chief of staff in the cabinet of Simeon Saxe-Coburg, a post in which he served for a few months before being dismissed.
In 1992, Ganev was awarded the UN Secretary-General’s gold medal for peace for his contributions to the preservation of peace and security on the planet.
(Photo: UN Photo/John Isaac)