Varna, 27 May 2011 - BULGARIA IS FULL CONTRIBUTOR TO NATO'S MODERN MISSIONS, FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS
Bulgaria, which formally joined the Atlantic alliance in 2004, is putting its weight behind NATO's modern missions, the foreign minister said today (Saturday 28 May).
The new strategic concept, agreed in Lisbon last November, formalised a “NATO version 3.0” Nickolay Mladenov said, speaking at the spring session of the alliance's Parliamentary Assembly in the Bulgarian seaside town of Varna.
The alliance is addressing “new challenges which 10, 20 or 30 years ago didn't exist,” the minister said, including terrorism in all its forms, and the protection of its civilian populations and military troops, abroad and at home.
The NATO missile defence system was a key part of this new mission, he told the Parliamentary Assembly's press office on the sidelines of the meeting.
“To us what's important is to make sure that, as the system evolves, it covers the entire
There has been no commitment to “put a radar on top of a monument” as the press report suggested, he said. “But we are talking to our partners in NATO, in particular to our American friends, as to what is the best way for
If the Balkan country did agree to host a component of the system, designed to protect against a rogue missile strike, this would not be a reversal of policy, he stressed. “On the contrary, we've always said that we will do our part for the system, whatever it takes. But we're not at that stage of the discussion yet.”
He also expressed
There were already plans for “more training of Serbian and Bulgarian troops together with NATO allies at facilities in
But the Serbs must be free to choose whether ultimately to join the alliance, and “not feel it is being pressed on them from the outside,” he said. “I think we have to be careful, it's still very much an issue of internal debate in
“My personal view is that the public at large in
The country's military have already helped evacuate around 1,000 Egyptian and Sudanese nationals from
Some 250 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member countries as well as delegates from partner countries and experts are meeting from Friday 27 May to Monday 30 May 2011, ahead of the annual session scheduled for October in