US Military Pick up Four Bulgarian Bases - Report

May 18, 2005, Wednesday // 12:00
Bulgaria will be asked to let US forces use four of its military bases in the country, namely the Graf Ignatievo, Bezmer, Novo Selo and the civil airport of Sarafovo, near Burgas on the Black Sea coast, according to Dnevnik daily.

Washington and Sofia officials have held consultations here this week over the possible deployment of US militaries in several bases of Bulgaria.

The news came from Ohrid, Macedonia, where Deputy Defence Minister Ilko Dimitrov, who is chairing the bilateral talks, told journalists that Washington is also interested in placing storehouses in Bulgaria.

Last week Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov stated Bulgaria would host US military forces in three bases.

In the words of the defense deputy, the US delegation headed by Ambassador Robert Loftis, Senior Advisor at the US State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs has presented two draft agreements on the military deployment to be further discussed by the parliament and cabinet ministers.

US officials have said they could use Bulgarian, alongside Romanian, sites to deploy troops on rotational training tours as part of a broader US strategy of shifting troops based in Europe further east.

Earlier this year, the top commander of US and NATO troops in Europe, General James Jones, said in Sofia that he would propose to the US Congress "four or five Bulgarian military facilities for use by US forces."

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