Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet approved on April 17 a draft memorandum of understanding on economic co-operation with Iran as a basis for negotiations, the government information service said.
The purpose of the memorandum is to specify the prospective areas of bilateral co-operation and the measures that both countries will take to expand and intensify economic co-operation, the statement said.
“There will be encouragement of contacts between business representatives from the two countries, exchanges of business visits, participation in fairs and exhibitions, which will be held in both countries, and organisation of events,” the Bulgarian government said.
The memorandum also provides for co-operation between Bulgaria and Iran to build on the contractual basis of economic relations in order to deepen mutually beneficial co-operation in the commercial and economic sphere, it said.
There have been a number of high-level contacts between the governments of Bulgaria and Iran in recent years.
In January 2019, Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva held talks with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghch.
In February 2018, Zaharieva held talks in Sofia with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also met Prime Minister Borissov and head of state President Roumen Radev.
Borissov and the Iranian Foreign Minister discussed ways to deepen economic relations between the two countries, Borissov’s office said at the time. Radev said that Bulgaria was interested in deepening partnerships with Iran in trade, energy and scientific co-operation.
In November 2017, the Economy Ministry hosted a Bulgarian-Iranian business forum in Sofia. The ministry said that at the forum, addressed by Deputy Economy Minister Alexander Manolev, representatives of 15 Iranian dairy companies had been exploring opportunities for partnership and investment in Bulgaria.
In September 2017, during a visit to the United Nations in New York City, President Radev met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. A year earlier, Radev’s predecessor, Rossen Plevneliev, also held talks with Rouhani.
In July 2016, during a visit to Tehran by a Bulgarian delegation headed by Prime Minister Borissov, who held talks with Rouhani, Bulgaria and Iran signed bilateral agreements on boosting co-operation on mutual investment, transport and communications and cooperation between the SMEs of the two countries.
In December 2015, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister of the time, Daniel Mitov, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held talks on what official statements described as good co-operation between Bulgaria and Iran, the possibilities for developing gas and transport corridors from Iran to Europe, the Middle East crisis, as well as refugee flows.
(Archive photo: Borissov and Rouhani at their talks in Tehran in July 2016)