Secretary General visits Bulgaria for talks on keeping NATO strong
During a visit to Sofia on Thursday (22 January 2015), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Bulgaria for its contributions to the Alliance’s missions and operations, and stressed the need to keep NATO strong by implementing the Readiness Action Plan. After talks with President Rosen Plevneliev, the Secretary General praised Bulgaria’s role within the Alliance, saying “Bulgaria is a valued Ally”.
The Secretary General thanked Bulgaria for its contributions to the Alliance. Mr Stoltenberg particularly welcomed Bulgaria’s involvement in NATO's new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces; its continued commitment to the mission in Kosovo; and for enhancing NATO’s collective defence by conducting naval patrols in the Black Sea. He further thanked Bulgaria for supporting the Euro-Atlantic integration of the western Balkans, and leading a trust fund on medical rehabilitation for Ukraine.
The Secretary General and President Plevneliev discussed the importance of implementing NATO’s Readiness Plan, in light of challenges to the east and south of the Alliance. “Implementing the plan is our highest priority,” Mr Stoltenberg said, noting that it will “make our forces more ready and better able to respond to challenges from any direction”. The Secretary General added that “Bulgaria has an important role to play,” highlighting the importance of NATO’s high readiness force and planned command and control elements in the east of the Alliance. Mr Stoltenberg stressed that “all the measures taken by NATO are defensive, proportional, and in line with our international commitments”.
The two leaders also discussed the defence spending pledge made at last September’s Wales Summit, and the importance of meeting it. “Investing in defence will keep Bulgaria safe, and it will keep NATO strong,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
While in Sofia, the Secretary General also held separate talks with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev.