Bulgaria’s PM on attack on Israel: Potential for very serious escalation

The danger of a much larger storm brewing is enormous, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on October 9, commenting on the situation in Israel following Hamas’s large-scale terrorist attack on that country.

Speaking to reporters, Denkov said that the situation must be monitored very carefully because there is a potential for a very serious escalation.

“Each of the main driving forces – on the one hand the Israelis and Palestinians who are in close contact and on the other hand Iran and its proxy groups such as Hezbollah, and on the third hand the US and Russia – each of them must consider how they can de-escalate this conflict,” he said, acknowledging that this would not be easy.

Bulgaria was the only country that was able to conduct two flights in a short period of time to bring out those wishing to leave Israel. A Bulgarian government aircraft was used on October 9 to transport Bulgarians and nationals of other countries from Israel to Bulgaria on two successive flights.

“Let’s once again congratulate the institutions – Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who reacted extremely quickly,” he said.

He said further information was being gathered about those interested in leaving Israel: “When there are enough people and it is safe to fly – we will be able to do another such flight”.

Asked if he expected President Roumen Radev to convene the Consultative Council on National Security and whether this was necessary, Denkov said: “You have to ask the president that question”.

“Given the situation we are in a pre-election situation, we see that some of the parties are using every opportunity to try to escalate, instead of de-escalating the situation – it is necessary to consider what the result of such a council would be and whether it would be useful,” Denkov said, referring to Bulgaria’s municipal elections scheduled for the end of October.

“Of course we will offer humanitarian aid, we have to see if we can help in terms of hospital aid, as happened with the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. In terms of equipment, military options, we have not discussed such options at all. Here the conflict is of a completely different nature level, so we are not currently discussing such an option,” he said.

Speaking on October 9, Tourism Minister Zaritsa Dinkova said: “We are following with concern and attention what is happening in Israel, the Bulgarian government promptly took measures for the security of Israeli tourists on our territory.

“This attitude is key for all our foreign guests. Bulgaria is a safe tourist destination,” Dinkova said.

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