In Athens on Monday, Bulgaria and Greece signed their first bilateral Agreement on Cross-border Air Policing Operations, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry said in press release.
"The boundaries of our confidence and understanding pass where we draw them ourselves," Bulgairan Defence Minister Anyu Angelov told a joint news conference with Greek National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos after the signature.
"The agreement we signed is the first bilateral Air Policing Agreement not only for Bulgaria and Greece but for the Balkans as well. Our countries will now help each other in air operations in connection with aerial terrorist threats and the safety of air navigation. But I am convinced that defence cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece has yet to deepen because open relations mean open doors and open minds," Angelov stressed.
Under the Agreement, the two countries will interact in conducting air policing to guard NATO airspace. Aircraft declared to accomplish air policing missions of Bulgaria and Greece will be able to enter the other country's airspace in case of a threat. Procedures, rules and mechanisms for implementation of these missions are laid down.
Air policing is a peacetime NATO mission encompassing radar surveillance and identification of air objects. When required, fighter aircraft may be employed to assist in identification, or to assist/escort aircraft. NATO members without the necessary national assets to conduct air policing are assisted by other NATO members to ensure that air sovereignty is maintained.