Bulgaria Says Not Pressured to Reveal Burgas Bombing Probe Results
Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has rejected claims that Bulgaria was pressured into issuing a statement on the progress of the investigation of the July 18 bus bombing in the Black Sea city of Burgas.
Speaking Wednesday in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), he was adamant that such a statement would not have been made without sufficient evidence.
Speaking after a session of Bulgaria's Consultative Council on National Security, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced Tuesday that the evidence gathered so far led to a well-founded assumption that two of the perpetrators of the deadly attack belonged to the militant wing of Hezbollah.
Tsvetanov explained that two of the three suspects involved in the bus bombing, which killed seven, including five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver, and the perpetrator, had genuine passports from Australia and Canada.
In his Wednesday interview for the morning broadcast of BNT, Mladenov explained that the "well-founded assumption" phrase meant that Bulgaria had a good reason to believe that the terror attack had been organized and inspired by members of the militant branch of Hezbollah at this stage of the investigation.
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister stated that Bulgaria wanted to state three things clearly – that attacks against the EU would not go unpunished and the perpetrators of such acts would be brought to justice, that Bulgaria would cooperate with the authorities in Lebanon and all of its allies to bring the trial to an end, and that Bulgaria would adopt joint actions on an EU level, in line with the statement of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Asked to comment on the suggestions that Bulgaria had become involved into a complex geopolitical scenario and even a war, Mladenov said that it was a purely fictional scenario which had nothing to do with reality.
He noted that Bulgaria was neither that strong, nor that weak, on the global map, stressing the country's NATO and EU membership.
"Nobody has ever exercised any pressure over Bulgaria to come up with the results of its own investigation. We should have more respect for our own country and institutions as regards their decision-making. The responsibility we have is shared among all allies," Mladenov stated.
He went on to say that Bulgarian authorities had rather been subject to local pressure to refrain from issuing a statement on the matter.
"Keeping silent about the truth shall not make you stronger, it shall make you weaker," Bulgaria's Foreign Minister noted.
"If we had kept silent about what was presented yesterday to the Consultative Council on National Security, if we had yielded to the temptation of keeping silent, then the threat to our national security would have been much stronger," he argued.
He noted that the authorities in Lebanon had no interest in their country generating insecurity.
Mladenov claimed that the vow of the Prime Minister of Lebanon that the country would preserve the security of European and Bulgarian citizens was the most important message issued on the matter on Tuesday.
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