United States senators John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson are to visit Bulgaria over the weekend, the US embassy in Sofia said on June 6, as part of an Eastern Europe tour by the three that also includes Poland and Romania.
Murphy, a Democrat, is the junior senator from Connecticut and Johnson a Republican from Winsconsin.
The three senators will meet Bulgarian government officials to discuss the good bilateral relations between Bulgaria and the US, the situation in Ukraine and NATO’s response, and matters concerning the rule of law and energy security, the US embassy said.
Separately, Bulgarian defence minister Angel Naidenov said that the government had made a request to Nato for more active use of shared Bulgarian-American military bases in Bulgaria, including the deployment of more military contingents from the US and other member states,
At a meeting of Nato defence ministers earlier this week in Brussels, Naidenov asked also for an increase of the multinational military exercises in Bulgaria, in Bulgaria’s air space and territorial waters included.
In Romania on June 5, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking after meeting Romanian defence minister Mircea Dusa, underlined Washington’s commitment to the security of its allies in the region.
Hagel said that the US had maintained a regular Naval presence in the Black Sea since mid-March, with the USS Truxton, the USS Donald Cook, and the USS Taylor all conducting port calls in Romania, “and we will sustain this tempo going forward”.
“We are also stepping up our co-operation with other partners and allies surrounding the Black Sea – including Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, and Ukraine,” Hagel said.