Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was officially welcomed to Riyadh on November 29 by Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and his country’s prime minister, the Bulgarian government media service said.
This is the first official meeting between a Bulgarian government leader with a king of Saudi Arabia throughout the history of bilateral relations, according to the Bulgarian government statement.
The statement quoted Salman as saying that the visit to Riyadh by the head of the Bulgarian government was a major step in the development of bilateral relations.
Borissov is scheduled to meet Saudi foreign minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, Khalid Al-Falih.
Borissov’s November 28 to 30 visit is at the invitation of the King of Saudi Arabia and commences a political dialogue that will help develop partnerships between the two countries in different spheres of mutual interest, the government’s press service said.
En route to Riyadh from Sofia, Borissov’s government aircraft had to pass through Iraqi air space because Iran denied it permission to enter its air space. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are strained. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said later that the matter had been discussed with the charge d’affaires of the Iranian mission in Sofia, who apologised and said that the matter was the result of a technical error.
Borissov’s delegation includes Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, Agriculture Minister Roumen Porozhanov, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova and Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski, as well as heads of Bulgarian business associations.
Bulgaria’s former monarch and former prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg is a guest of honour among the delegation.
During the bilateral meetings between Bulgarian ministers and their Saudi counterparts, it is expected that there will be negotiations on the opening of a Bulgarian embassy in Riyadh and the signing of agreements in the field of agriculture, as well as the avoidance of double taxation. The double-taxation agreement was approved at a meeting of the Bulgarian government on November 28.