Bulgarian President Radev: Military effect of air strike on Syria ‘negligible’

Bulgarian head of state President Roumen Radev has expressed a critical view of the US-led air strike on Syria on April 14, saying that the military effect was negligible, the financial effect half a billion dollars and the political effect mainly a domestic one to the countries that took part.

Radev, speaking on April 16, said that the main effect of the strike was against the United Nations, an organisation that was increasingly overlooked.

He said that politicians were increasingly tempted to use aircraft, ship and other equipment to serve their political ambitions, but they had to keep in mind that such equipment was run by people “with their moods and fears” and only one mistake “and we are on the verge of a direct clash”.

“The situation in Syria is complex – there are many players, each with their own interests, who carry out independent operations. Bashar Assad is backed by Russia with restored military power and a tangible presence. In this situation, strategies of past conflicts cannot be implemented because they can face greater challenges,” Radev said.

“My call is: Fewer weapons and more dialogue,” he said.

The government of Bulgaria issued its stance on the air strike on Syria on April 14, after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov summoned members of the Cabinet and heads of intelligence and security services to a special meeting.

“We have repeatedly expressed a strong opposition to the use of chemical weapons. No cause could justify the murder of innocent citizens, children included. The use of chemical weapons amounts to a war crime,” the government said.

The US, UK, France and others blame the Assad government for the fatal chemical weapons attack on Douma earlier in April.

“We consider this one-off military operation as a warning for the Syrian regime to refrain from such unlawful actions in the future. At the same time, we express our concern regarding a possible escalation of the conflict and call on the Syrian regime to cease all actions violating international humanitarian law,” the Bulgarian government said.

Measures to de-escalate, as well as to ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access to the victims of the chemical attack in the Syrian city of Duma, are needed, the statement said.

“We fully support the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and expect full facilitation of the work of its Investigation teams. Those bearing the guilt for the chemical attack in Douma should be revealed and held accountable.

“Bulgaria supports the efforts of the international community, which we are also part of, for achieving peace and finding a political solution in Syria,” the government statement said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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