President Purvanov: Bulgarian Position on Kosovo Dependent on Its Commitment to Ahtisaari Plan

President Purvanov: Bulgarian Position on Kosovo Dependent on Its Commitment to Ahtisaari Plan

The Bulgarian position, and the establishment and development of any relations with Kosovo will depend on how the Kosovo leadership is seen really fulfilling the Ahtisaari plan which Bulgaria has been supporting all along, Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov said Monday. He was asked by the press about the Bulgarian position on the declaration of independence by Kosovo on February 17, BTA reports.

According to him, a further factor will be institutional building in Kosovo, respect for human rights and for the rights of minorities, including Serbs and people with Bulgarian self-awareness.
President Purvanov underscored Bulgaria's commitment to the efforts of the EU to be a factor of stability in Kosovo and to the efforts to integrate the Western Balkans into the EU, and offer them a clear and lasting European prospect.

Yet another factor in assessing the Kosovo situation is the risks and challenges to the broader region, said the President. "Bulgaria will evaluate and shape its relations with Kosovo based on how far the processes there contribute to the stabilization of the Balkans as a whole and the Western Balkans in particular."

The declaration of independence by Kosovo did not come as a surprise for Bulgaria, added the Head of state. In his words, this act was "part of a process that has taken long enough, and the end to a series of failed attempts to find a working solution that would satisfy both Belgrade and Pristina".

Commenting Serbia's threats to sever diplomatic ties with any nation that recognizes Kosovo, and whether or not it would be a consideration in taking a stand on Kosovo's independence, President Purvanov said he "understands the feelings of the Serb people". "I truly believe and hope that the Serb institutions will be able to assess the situation wisely, reasonably and responsibly, as they often have done in the recent years." He further voiced hope that there would be no serious challenges in Serbia's relations with its neighbors, including Bulgaria.

"We are ready for all possible scenarios. We have a policy and action plan for each," President Purvanov said. He would not elaborate on what the possible scenarios are.

Asked about te implications of Bulgaria's position on Kosovo for its relations with Macedonia, the Head of State said that Bulgarian-Macedonian relations "need a fresh reading". He explained further said these relations rest on the solid base of documents signed at the end of last century, and indicated that new things have happened that are not reflected in these. Among them, he mentioned Kosovo and the challenges in the Western Balkans, new energy and infrastructure projects which involve Bulgaria and could be of interest for Skopje.

President Purvanov voiced readiness to have a working meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, to discuss the new agenda of bilateral relations, the challenges after the declaration of Kosovo's independence and the progress of Macedonia's preparation for NATO membership.

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