Obama: Bulgaria Proven Outstanding Ally of USA
Bulgaria has proven to be one of the most outstanding NATO allies of the USA, US President Barack Obama has remarked upon receiving Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov for a meeting in the White House.
Borisov was welcomed by Obama in the White House on Monday in a long-anticipated meeting.
This is Borisov's second meeting with US President Obama; their first meeting was at a dinner of the US President with state leaders from Eastern Europe back in 2010.
"Obviously, there are very strong bonds between our two countries, including many Bulgarian Americans in my hometown of Chicago. It reminds us of the strong people-to-people relationship between the United States and Bulgaria," Obama noted before his talks with Borisov.
The US President went on to praise the Bulgarian state leader and even joked about Borisov's karate skills.
"I've had an opportunity to work and discuss issues with the Prime Minister in the past, and he has always been a very effective leader on the world stage. And I think it's important for everybody to know that he's also a black belt in karate, so you should be very careful crossing him," Obama said.
"First and foremost, I want to thank the Prime Minister for the strong partnership in NATO. Bulgaria has been a strong supporter of the efforts in Afghanistan, and we'll have the opportunity to touch briefly on the transition that needs to take place there. But I want to thank him and his fellow countrymen for their service and sacrifice," he continued.
"We've also had excellent cooperation on criminal investigations, law enforcement, counterterrorism -- and most recently, I want to thank the Prime Minister for his very diligent investigation of the tragic terrorist attack that killed Israeli civilians in Bulgaria. The security teams in Bulgaria have worked very hard and cooperatively in bringing the perpetrators to justice," Obama stated.
According to the US President, however, security does not exhaust the ties between Bulgaria and the USA.
"Bulgaria is a modernizing country, and I know that the Prime Minister is interested in a range of reforms to create an open and transparent government, to improve trade and commerce between our two countries, as a leader in the Balkans in moving towards further integration with Europe and the rest of the world economy. We've been very impressed with the progress that's been made in Bulgaria, and I'm looking forward to hearing from the Prime Minister how the United States can further assist in those efforts," the US President declared.
"Of course, the fact that you pointed out you are from Chicago, I would like to point out that this is one of the biggest Bulgarian cities -- over 150,000 Bulgarians make Chicago their home," Borisov said in return referring to Obama's home city.
"I'm very glad that you pointed out that in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, places where our soldiers, U.S. and Bulgaria, fight for democracy shoulder to shoulder, that we do have additional topics of mutual interest. And I thank you for the opportunity to lay a wreath today at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," the Bulgarian PM added.
"It is true that Bulgaria is an island of stability in the Eastern Balkans. Our budget deficit is very low, our foreign debt is very low, and our financial stability is great. Thank you for the opportunity in the energy sphere for Bulgaria to work towards diversification of energy sources. We do have deep reserves in this area for the future," he noted further.
Borisov stressed that the Bulgarian citizens are expecting your decision on Bulgaria's joining the Visa Waiver Program.
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