Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev conferred on Sheila Camerer, the outgoing South African ambassador to Bulgaria, and Karol Mistrík, the outgoing Slovak ambassador to Bulgaria, the country’s highest honour, the Stara Planina first class, at a ceremony on March 21.
During Camerer’s five-year tenure in Sofia, relations between Bulgaria and South Africa reached a new level of co-operation in the cultural, economic and education areas, Plevneliev said.
Last year, the two countries marked the 20th anniversary of re-establishing diplomatic relations; before that, in 2011, South Africa’s minister of international relations and co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane visited Sofia, the first such visit by a South African foreign minister, Camerer said.
South African investment also took off, with two companies set up during Camerer’s term as ambassador and a third one set to open soon, she said. A South African honorary consulate was opened in Varna earlier in February, with Bulgaria’s largest port city also signing a twinning agreement with Cape Town.
Bulgaria’s relations with Slovakia were excellent, Mistrík said, as evidenced by last year’s visit by then-prime minister Boiko Borissov to Bratislava, which gave a new impetus to bilateral relations.
The governments of the two countries were scheduled to hold a joint session in May, which has now been postponed because of the latest political developments in Bulgaria, but Mistrík said he was confident that the next elected government will support the initiative and hold such a meeting in the future.
The two countries were to celebrate the 1150th anniversary of the St Cyril and St Methodius mission to Moravia this year. “The heritage of the two brothers is dear to both our peoples. I am happy that this will be the reason for President Plevneliev’s visit to Slovakia this year,” Mistrík said.
(Left to right: Sheila Camerer, Rossen Plevneliev, Karol Mistrík. Photo: president.bg)