Bulgarian Politicians Reactions on Conflict in Georgia

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Bulgarian Politicians Reactions on Conflict in Georgia

Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin voiced Bulgaria position on the situation in Georgia involving that the EU should activate its participation, namely, through a common European position. He was speaking before journalists in the Arda Village, Smolyan Region. In the following days the Foreign Minister of France, which currently holds the EU Presidency, will visit Tbilisi and Moscow, BTA reported.

He will deliver a common EU message. An extraordinary meeting of the External Relations Council will probably be held next week. "I think that the EU could play a highly useful role regarding the termination of the conflict and the settlement of the humanitarian crisis issues and mediate for the lasting regulation of this conflict," Kalfin commented.

In his view Bulgaria could be useful both with its knowledge about Georgia and with its special role: the country is a special contact point of the NATO countries and Georgia. "We would contribute best, if we assist in the formation of an European position," Kalfin stated.

Taking a question on whether the Bulgarians in Georgia will be evacuated at this stage, the Foreign Minister replied that the Foreign Ministry has not made an appeal to this effect. The Embassy is in contact with the Bulgarians in Georgia, including the ones, working as representatives of different international organizations. "We advised the Bulgarian nationals to refrain from traveling to Georgia unless they have very urgent reasons for this," he stated.

Defence Minister Nikolai Tsonev, who attended the observances in connection with the 129th anniversary of the Bulgarian Navy in Varna, said that it is not necessary to enhance the combat readiness of the Bulgarian army, answering a journalist question.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Milen Keremedchiev received Georgian Ambassador here Mihail Ukleba at the latter's request. The diplomat familiarized his host with the situation in Georgia and extended an official invitation to Bulgaria, as EU Member State, to send a representative to familiarize himself on spot with the situation.

As EU Member State and member of the so-called New Group of Georgia's Friends, Bulgaria is an esteemed, reliable and respected partner, on which Tbilisi will rely for the settlement of the current conflict, Ukleba said further. On his part, Keremedchiev assured the Georgian Ambassador that Georgia is a strategic partner of Bulgaria and the EU. Bulgaria will also play a role for the regulation of the conflict through peaceful negotiations as a country, having the Black Sea region as a priority, he observed.

"It is in our interest that Russia and Georgia settle their relations in the name of the peace in the Black Sea region and, I think, that, within EU and within NATO, Bulgaria is one of the countries, which have to play the most active role," said Solomon Passy, Chairman of the National Assembly Foreign Policy Committee.

It would be difficult for the international community to find a useful move, if the two countries, involved in the conflict, do not demonstrate good will. "It would be tough to impose a decision and this is why we urge for an immediate termination of military actions," said Passy.

"I still believe that Georgia should have been granted a Membership Action Plan (MAP). If this had happened, NATO would have had a bigger influence in the internal processes, on the one hand, and, on the other, such positive changes in Georgia as well as an invitation for membership would have certainly triggered a less emotional reaction," he stated.

Also on Sunday opposition MP Nadezhda Mihailova said that there should be a clear official position on the conflict in Georgia but so far, as she put it, the Government of Prime Minister
Sergei Stanishev has been hiding behind general statements. Bulgaria, being a Black Sea country and EU's Black Sea border, is interested in Georgia's integrity and in the stability of the democratic processes there.

Actually, Russia is performing military actions not only on the territory of the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but also on the territory of Georgia, according to Mihailova. In her view if reports that Russian planes are bombing the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline are confirmed, this would be an aggression against the EU as well aiming to terminate the alternative oil supplies for Europe.

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