Plevneliev: US has made no proposal to Bulgaria on deploying military equipment

The United States currently has made no proposal to the Bulgarian government about deploying military equipment in the country, President Rossen Plevneliev said in response to reports that the US is planning to transfer heavy military weaponry to several countries including Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and possibly Hungary.

Plevneliev’s statement on June 15 came two days after the New York Times report about the purported plan and as Poland and Lithuania confirmed that they had held talks with Washington about it.

The President, who constitutionally is head of state and also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said that Bulgaria was “monitoring” the process of decision-making in Washington about the idea of the US increasing the level of security of some allies, especially those along Nato’s eastern borders.

“At this stage, the Bulgarian government has had no proposal whatsoever that it could discuss,” Plevneliev said.

He said that within the framework of Nato’s decision-making, Bulgaria contributes to and acts responsibly in regard to collective defence.

Plevneliev noted that there were additional mechanisms and ideas as part of bilateral co-operation with the US, and Bulgaria would approach the responsibly when it receives official and specific proposals.

He said that as a member of Nato, Bulgaria was fulfilling the Readiness Action Plan adopted at the Nato Wales Summit in September 2014.

“Bulgaria is an active and responsible member of Nato,” he said.

Plevneliev said that the Consultative Council on National Security had achieved political consensus on Bulgaria beginning to gradually increase its budget for the defence as of 2016, so as to reach two per cent of GDP in 10 years.

“With this decision, we show our responsible approach. At the moment we are following closely the US idea for boosting the security level,” Plevneliev said.

Poland and Lithuania have confirmed that they discussed the plan with US military officials in Washington last month and were reassured a decision would be made soon, the Voice of America reported.

“This is another step to increase U.S. presence in Poland and the region,” Polish defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak said.

Czech defence minister Martin Stropnický told local media that the information, first released Saturday by the New York Times, had not been verified, the Prague Post reported. The decision has not been approved by the US defence department nor by the White House, Stropnický said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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