Radi Naydenov, Deputy Minister of Defence
of Bulgaria at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
in Defence Ministers session
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for the opportunity to share with you some of the
Bulgarian views and ideas relating to the challenges of the day.
In the context of the changes in the security environment in Europe and
the world in general, today's meeting is an important milestone in seeking
fruitful and effective cooperation among the States for the establishment
of stability and peace on the planet.
Summarizing the activities at both national and international /including
regional/ level, we can say that Bulgaria is acting as a de facto full-fledged
member of the Alliance. Bulgaria has been working hard since 1997 to present
itself as an attractive NATO candidate with a strategic geographic location,
improving economy and stable institutions. The immediate foreign policy
aim of receiving an invitation for accession into NATO at the forthcoming
summit of the member-counties in Prague in the autumn of 2002 is categorically
supported by the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the President
of the Republic.
September the 11th events highlighted in a new way and reiterated Bulgaria's
decision and preparation for NATO accession. As a follow-up and practical
implementation of the Agreement of March 2001 between Bulgaria and NATO
for transit passing of NATO forces and equipment through the territory
of the country, the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria approved
with full consensus a bilateral military agreement between Bulgaria and
the USA for transiting of forces and presence of forces in support of
the operation in Afghanistan. A temporary US Air Force base has started
functioning at the airport of Bourgas.
These are only a few of the activities initiated by the Bulgarian government,
in response and in conjunction with the efforts of the international community
to hold a campaign against terrorism in the world. Bulgaria is ready to
conclude similar Agreements with other Member States should they be interested
in doing so.
From national perspective Bulgaria's preparation for NATO membership
includes a new approach towards the training and activities of Bulgarian
Armed Forces as active participants and supporters of anti-terrorist operations
both in the country and in the region. The changes, envisaged to be made
in the Military doctrine, are viewed in relation with and following the
Regional cooperation and interaction are an important part of Bulgaria's
contribution to the efforts of the international community to build a
peaceful and democratic Europe. The progress of the neighboring countries
towards prosperity and integration in the Euro Atlantic democratic community
is seen both as success for Bulgaria as well as a success by Bulgaria.
framework of the NATO initiative for South Eastern Europe /SEEI/, Bulgaria
is playing an active role in the coordination and improvement of regional
cooperation and interaction. As an initiator of the SEEGROUP and the chairman
of its first meeting, Bulgaria remains an important factor for guarantying
the peace and security of South Eastern Europe.
We are all looking forward to the forthcoming summit with the confidence
that the decisions it is going to make will have a great impact on the
achievement and promotion of peace and stability on the planet.