Economic ties, security on agenda as Israeli foreign minister Lieberman visits Bulgaria

Bulgaria and Israel will identify specific projects to bring new dynamism to economic co-operation and to promote business contacts between the two countries, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev and visiting Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman agreed in talks in Sofia on March 27 2014.

This is expected to be the focus in the upcoming meetings of Bulgarian state and government officials with their Israeli counterparts, as well as a forthcoming third joint meeting of the two governments.

Plevneliev extended an invitation for more companies from Israel to invest in Bulgaria and South Eastern Europe, offering very attractive conditions for business, a statement by the Bulgarian President’s office said.

“Israel has achieved considerable success in information and communication technology, health care and biotechnology. These are priority sectors for the Bulgarian economy in which a number of Bulgarian companies have experience, and it is in our country ‘s interest to attract strategic investors,” Plevneliev said.

Bulgaria would continue to work to diversify the sources and routes of transmission of energy resources, and this too opens prospects for closer co-operation with Israel, Plevneliev said .

Construction of interconnectors between the transmission system of Bulgaria and the networks of its neighbours is underway and this will give Bulgaria access to a wide range of exporters of natural gas, including the Mediterranean region, he said.

Israel’s ability to supply natural gas to South Eastern Europe is real and conditions should be created to attract potential investors to participate in the development of regional transmission infrastructure, it was stated at the meeting, the President’s office said.

Bulgaria and Israel will deepen co-operation in the area of security, Plevneliev and Lieberman confirmed.

Bulgaria , Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Romania to establish a Regional Group Crisis Response , to strengthen the partnership between the parties in the case of common security challenges , including in situations of increased migration pressures .

Israel’s willingness was confirmed to continue to support Bulgaria in the investigation into the July 2012 terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport on the Bulgarian Black Sea.

In that terrorist attack, which an international investigation led by Bulgaria has established was the work of people linked to the military wing of Hezbollah, five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian died, as did a member of the terrorist group.

Security is a high priority in the co-operation between Bulgaria and Israel, Lieberman and Tsvetlin Yovchev, Bulgaria’s interior minister, agreed at their talks on March 27.

According to a statement by the Bulgarian interior ministry, Lieberman and Yovchev agreed on the need for effective international co-operation in combating terrorism and other threats to global and regional security.

Yovchev thanked the Israeli side for the proactive interaction in the investigation into the Bourgas terrorist attack.

“I am optimistic that we will find those behind the attack,” Yovchev said.

During the talks, the two ministers reaffirmed their readiness to work for the establishment of a regional group to respond to crises and emergencies, the interior ministry said..

They exchanged views on the situation in Syria and Ukraine, the statement said.

Yovchev briefed the visiting Israeli delegation on the measures taken by Bulgaria to cope with the increased migration pressures and refugee influx. He said that Bulgaria will rely on support from Israel to deal with this problem.

Another important topic on which the two ministers agreed to work together was the fight against xenophobia and anti-Semitism, the interior ministry said.

Lieberman expressed his gratitude for the readiness of the Bulgarian side and the personal commitment and position of Yovchev regarding the timely prevention and prevention of various forms of anti-Semitism and xenophobia, the ministry said.

Lieberman also met Plamen Oresharski, occupant of the prime minister’s chair in the Bulgarian Socialist Party cabinet formed in May 2013.

Lieberman said that political relations between the two countries are excellent and agreed that one of the areas that could evolve in the future was on the economic front.

Lieberman proposed a strategy for better economic co-operation between Bulgaria and Israel, as well as a meeting with the business community of Israel.

“The attitude of the Bulgarian people to the Jewish community is something to remember and is highly valued . It is important to remember the historic moment, ” Lieberman said during the meeting .

In 2013, Bulgaria and Israel commemorated the 70th anniversary of the preventation of the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to the Nazi Holocaust death camps in which six million Jews were murdered under the Hitler regime during World War 2.

Lieberman was also scheduled, during his visit, to hold talks with his host, counterpart Kristian Vigenin.

(Photo of Lieberman: US State Department)



The Sofia Globe staff

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