Bulgarian President Roumen Radev has called a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security for January 9 to discuss possible risks and threats to national security in the context of the complex security environment in the Middle East, his office said.
The January 8 announcement of the meeting came a few hours after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing US troops, after Iran had threatened retaliation for the US killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Bulgaria’s Consultative Council on National Security, convened by the head of state, includes the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Interior Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Defence Chief and representatives of groups in the National Assembly.
Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry said in a statement on January 8 that the two Bulgarian military personnel in Nato’s non-combat mission in Iraq had been deployed to a safe location.
“As a result of the complicated situation in Iraq and the implementation of Nato decisions, the two Bulgarian military personnel participating in the Alliance’s non-combat mission in Iraq were relocated to a safe place yesterday,” the statement said.
“Bulgaria is continuing to fulfill its commitments and will continue to participate in the mission,” the Defence Ministry said.
The European Commission held a special meeting on January 8 to discuss the situation stemming from the tensions in Iraq, Iran, the wider Middle East as well as Libya, the Commission said.
Speaking after the meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The current crisis deeply affects not only the region but all of us. And the use of weapons must stop now to give space to dialogue.
“We are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks. There cannot be enough of that. The European Union in its own way has a lot to offer. We have established and time tested relations with many actors in the region and beyond to de-escalate the situation,” Von der Leyen said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “The developments in Iran and Iraq and the whole region are extremely worrying. The latest rocket attacks on air bases in Iraq used by the U.S. and the coalition forces are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation – it is in no one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further.”