Bulgaria has continuously and actively worked for sustaining a world order based on the rule of law and reaffirming the principles of multilateral cooperation, “and it is the destiny of the United Nations to play a central role in this, and we actively support this organisation in its efforts,” Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told the UN General Assembly on September 28.
The main global challenges such as conflict resolution and peacekeeping, strengthening global security and stability, countering climate change, terrorism and ever-deepening inequality, cannot be addressed by one single country alone, Borissov said.
“They require shared responsibility and everyone’s contribution,” he told the General Assembly.
Borissov said that the countries of South Eastern Europe, and especially those of the Western Balkans, had achieved remarkable progress on important and much-debated issues, in spite of the obstacles before them.
He pointed to, among other things, what he called the concrete proof of this in the recent signing of agreements between Sofia and Skopje, and between Athens and Skopje. Borissov was referring to, respectively, the bilateral good-neighbourliness agreement, and the deal on the use of the name “Republic of North Macedonia” for the former Yugoslav republic, to be put to a referendum on September 30.
The agreement between Pristina and Podgorica on border demarcation that also just came into force was another significant milestone, Borissov said.
These documents not only showed “but also generate” the “new spirit of the region,” Borissov told the UN.
He also highlighted the leaders’ summit of EU and Western Balkans leaders in Sofia in May 2018, saying that the Sofia Declaration adopted at the summit “confirmed the European prospects of the region and turned them into an achievable goal”.
Borissov said that Bulgaria welcomed the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that his country saw the “re-tailoring of borders as a non-viable solution”.
Noting that Bosnia and Herzegovina is to hold elections in October 2018, Borissov said that these would be “a key test for the unity of the country and its determination to progress further along the path of European integration”.
On other key foreign policy topics, Borissov stated Bulgaria’s view that the Iran nuclear deal “continues to be a key element of the international security architecture”.
“We also support all efforts for the full, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a permanent peace in the region of north-eastern Asia,” Borissov said.
Borissov said that irregular migration was “a serious challenge before our societies, with reference to stability and security”.
The efforts of the international community need to predominantly focus on the main causes for migration – political, socio-economic and natural, he said.
Bulgaria categorically condemned all forms of terrorism, “no matter the cause for which they have been allegedly perpetrated”.
Terrorism undermined the peace, security, social and economic development of states, he said. The effective response to this phenomenon required the coordinated efforts of the entire international community.
“That is why we support the UN in its capacity as a universal organisation which possesses the full range of instruments to lead and coordinate the process, alongside facilitating the exchange of experience among the regional organisations and the national agencies, and assists in the streamlining of their efforts,” Borissov said.
He said that there was a moment in Bulgaria’s history “which we are justly proud of”.
Seventy-five years ago, in the darkest days during the Second World War, Bulgaria’s citizens, the church and the enlightened leaders and intellectuals stood up to attempts to deport close to 50 000 Bulgarian Jews to the death camps “and they prevented it from happening”.
“Achieved at a time when Nazi Germany had subordinated and occupied almost all of Europe,” Borissov said.
“I am sharing the story of the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews because it carries a very strong message relevant to the present and all people who feel threatened. It shows that humaneness and courage can win over power and irrationality, and save lives. It reminds us that we should never cease to fight for human life and the right causes.”
The rescue of the Bulgarian Jews “is an example much needed today to reassure us that values are not a forgotten category, but a chance for a better future,” Borissov said.
The Bulgarian example should become known to more people so that it can give courage to others around the world who are currently fighting to defend theirs and others’ lives, dignity, and human rights, he said.
“It is our mission at present to not allow the return of xenophobia and antisemitism, or the irreverence for the right to live, based on race, ethnicity or other factors. We Bulgarians know that it is possible and that it has happened before.
“To guarantee peace and prosperity around the world is our main task. I am convinced that this is attainable not through arms or battles, but with more humaneness and a greater sense of responsibility.
“We also need more than ever to strengthen the role and authoritativeness of the United Nations in its global operations,” Borissov said.
(Photo: Kim Haughton/UN Photo)