The July 18 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists at Bourgas Airport has been added to the agenda of the Consultative Council on National Security meeting called by President Rossen Plevneliev for July 26 2012.
The council brings together the head of state, the prime minister and a number of Cabinet ministers, heads of state agencies in the security field and leaders of parties represented in Parliament.
The meeting originally was intended to discuss the European Commission’s report on Bulgaria’s progress in the past five years under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism which is intended to bring the country up to EU standards in judicial reform and in fighting organised crime and corruption.
This report was released on July 18, several hours before the terrorist attack in Bourgas, which now will also be on the agenda.
All political party leaders already have confirmed their attendance. The invitation to the meeting was sent out before the Bourgas bomb attack.
Plevneliev, who took office as President in January, has numbered among his reforms the holding of regular meetings of the Consultative Council on National Security, with an agenda announced well in advance and related documents sent ahead of the meeting to all participants. He also has initiated set rules of procedure for the body.
While organised crime and corruption and a lack of adequate judicial reform are continuing themes in Bulgaria, the Bourgas attack is the first time for decades that the country has been the location of a terrorist attack. The previous terrorist incident was a train bombing in the 1980s.
Bulgaria has warm relations with Israel and is a popular tourist destination for Israeli tourists. Nato member Bulgaria’s foreign policy has embraced involvement in operations in Afghanistan while its policy also has put a strong emphasis on seeking to assist transitions to democracy in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. When Nikolai Mladenov became Foreign Minister in early 2010, he named one of his priorities as rebuilding Bulgaria’s relations with the Arab and Muslim world.
Bulgaria has long made a point of pride of what its modern-day leaders consistently have described as a tradition of domestic religious and ethnic tolerance and harmony. It is this point that was highlighted in a statement by Plevneliev on July 18, when he said that it was this tradition that made the terrorist attack all that much more shocking and made Bulgaria’s determination to bring the perpetrators to justice that much firmer.
Across the political spectrum, the terrorist act in Bourgas has been condemned as brutal, senseless and like all acts of terrorism, unjustified. Messages along these lines by domestic leaders have been echoed by leaders abroad.