Bulgarian President: Nato main source of security and stability

At the Nato Warsaw summit, it will clearly be stated that Nato is the main source of security and stability for Bulgaria, its other member states and for Europe, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said on July 8.

Plevneliev is heading the Bulgarian delegation, which also includes Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev, Bulgaria’s permanent representative to Nato Ivan Naidenov and Defence Chief Konstantin Popov.

At the summit, Bulgaria would express its concerns about the imbalance in the Black Sea region and the accelerated militarisation of Crimea by Russia.

“I will say very clearly that Nato must demonstrate commitment to the security of the member states in the Black Sea Basin and I expect the strategic importance Black Sea to the security of Nato member states in the region to be recognised,” Plevneliev said.

“The southern and eastern flank of Nato should not be ignored,” he said. Bulgaria was urging a stronger presence, better co-ordination and more joint exercises to enhance national defence capacity and that of Nato partners, Plevneliev said.

Since joining Nato in 2004, Bulgaria had consistently advocated a stronger presence of the alliance in the Black Sea, he said.

Bulgaria wanted the presence of Nato extended in the Black Sea, east and south, adapted to the needs of every member state and under the command of Nato.

Plevneliev said that Bulgaria would welcome the participation of Montenegro as an observer and as a future member of the alliance and would declare a clear commitment to the open door policy of the Nato.

At the Warsaw summit on July 8 and 9, Nato members are expected to reaffirm strong commitment to decisions taken at the previous Nato summit, held in Wales, including on the smooth increase of defence spending.

Plevneliev underlined that Bulgaria had moved to increasing defence spending to meet its commitments to Nato.

Nato leaders are expected to approve the deployment of four multinational battalions in the Baltics and in Poland on a rotational basis and discuss the formation of a multinational brigade in Romania.

Plevneliev said that these units would be entirely defensive in nature and “show solidarity towards countries that feel threatened and show the alliance’s ability to defend any member country”.

He reiterated that Bulgaria was ready to contribute up to 400 military personnel to the multi-national brigade in Romania, which would conduct exercises to improve co-ordination among Nato partners.

Leaders of Nato member countries are also expected to promote solutions to improve resilience against threats in cyberspace, and in response to current challenges such as hybrid and terrorist threats.

Leaders will define cyberspace as an operational field of activities, on an equal basis with activities by land, air and sea.

Plevneliev issued a reminder that during the national municipal elections and referendum in October 2015, Bulgarian institutions’ websites were again attacked. Cyber attacks were a violation against the state and the democratic process, he said.

The Alliance will also support international efforts to combat human trafficking and illegal migration in the Mediterranean and Aegean.

Plevneliev said that care should be taken so that alternative migration routes are not created.

“If this happens, including in the Black Sea basin, we will urge Nato and the EU to respond with an operation similar in effectiveness and scale to that in the Mediterranean and Aegean” he said.

Plevneliev said that Bulgaria has a principled and firm position regarding the actions of the Russian Federation in Crimea.

This position fully considered the risks and challenges in the east and the full defensive purposes, in proportion and in accordance with legal and political commitments of the Alliance to increase the level of security of the member states of Nato.

“The channels of communication and political dialogue with Russia remain open and this will be specifically highlighted during the summit,” Plevneliev said.

On July 9, Plevneliev will take part in the meeting of the Nato-Ukraine Committee.

Bulgaria consistently supports the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and international efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine by peaceful and diplomatic means, he said.

“You have to realise the scale of this conflict, which has very serious consequences for the Ukrainian people. We will insist that there is no alternative to full implementation of the commitments of all countries of the Minsk arrangements.”

The summit will approve the decision by Nato defence ministers to increase support through a comprehensive support package for Ukraine. Bulgaria is a leading nation in the trust for further treatment and rehabilitation of Ukrainian servicemen and had received high praise from its partners, Plevneliev said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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