Bulgarian, Polish presidents back strengthening Nato’s eastern flank

In talks on April 18 with visiting Polish president Andrzej Duda, Bulgarian head of state Rossen Plevneliev has spoken strongly in favour of dialogue with Russia and for that country to renounce its aggressive actions, while the two presidents also backed the strengthening of Nato’s eastern flank.

Plevneliev, referring to the EU – Russian Council to be held in Brussels on April 20, said that sooner or later, Russia should return to predictability and dialogue and renounce its aggressive actions.

“We need to talk. That is the meaning of this council. But to talk just is not enough. We must be ready to defend ourselves. We must have strong military co-operation with our friends from Nato,” Plevneliev said.

He noted the presence of Russian military aviation not only in the Baltic Sea but also in many other places, and the incidents of Russian aircraft performing dangerous close fly-bys and entering foreign territorial air space.

Nato should increase its presence in the region, Plevneliev said.

“These events that occur in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, where Russian planes pass close to the warships or forces of Nato, show in a very clear way that Russia is testing whether Nato is weak and afraid, or strong and defends the territories of the allance.

“In this, the response of Nato should be simple. That is to reinforce the potential and increase the troop strength of the alliance in our part of the world so that anyone who has any aggressive ambitions should see that any actions of an aggressive character are irrelevant,” Plevneliev said.

Duda said that on security issues, Poland and Bulgaria have “common goals and a common point of view”.

“We have no doubt that Nato must show an internal consistency, that Nato must show the internal solidarity and responsibility for security matters, where there is a problem on security issues. And, unfortunately, this has been seen in our part of the world in recent years and the response of Nato on these issues should be explicit,” Duda said.

The Polish president said that Nato must also show that it is an “alliance of the living”, which adequately responds to all challenges.

Duda and Plevneliev agreed on the need to strengthen the eastern flank of Nato.

“It’s a matter of our safety, the Balkans and the Baltic countries,” Duda said.

plevneliev and duda 1 photo Andrzej Hrechorowicz plevneliev and duda 2 photo Andrzej Hrechorowicz

Duda said that during the meeting, he and Plevneliev had addressed the issue of the modernization of the Bulgarian MiGs in Poland and the implementation of the Air Policing mission over Bulgaria with the participation of the Polish Air Force.

“We’re both agreed that the implementation of cooperation in the format of ABC (Duda was referring to a Polish abbreviation, for Adriatyk, Bałtyk, Morze Czarne) – Adriatic, Baltic, Black Sea, in our part of Europe – is very important that we should expand the infrastructure, both road, rail, and energy, especially when it comes to gas interconnectors, which will lead to a real diversification of supply,” Duda said.

Duda said that he had presented to Plevneliev the position of the Polish government on the issue of the migration crisis.

Poland was clearly of the opinion that the forced relocation of refugees that should not take place in Europe “but that at the same time we are open and everyone who is in fact a refugee and needs help if he arrives in Poland and will want to Poland to help, will get help”. Duda emphasised, however, that there is no consensus on the forced movement of people.

Polish president Duda and Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borissov, who held talks in Sofia on April 18 during Duda's visit.
Polish president Duda and Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borissov, who held talks in Sofia on April 18 during Duda’s visit.

(Photos: Andrzej Hrechorowicz/prezydent.pl)



The Sofia Globe staff

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