Bulgaria Will Not Accept Results of Crimean Referendum, Says FM
There is no reason for Bulgaria to recognize the referendum on secession from Ukraine that Crimea will hold on March 16.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin made these comments in an interview for Deutsche Welle, explaining the poll could only "ascertain the reality on the ground, but cannot justify the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation".
On Monday, he was on a visit to Germany, where he met his counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the capital Berlin. During the talks, he declared support for a German plan envisaging the creation of a contact group for direct negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian authorities.
Vigenin also reminded that neither the Ukrainian authorities nor the EU have shown they would accept the outcome of the referendum, which, from the point of view of Brussels, would constitute a forced alteration of borders.
The Foreign Minister refuted speculations that joint Black Sea military drills of Bulgaria, Romania and the US have anything to do with the situation on the Crimean Peninsula.
He said he did not wish to contribute to the impression that "Bulgaria takes part in the demonstration of power toward Russia".
Kristian Vigenin expressed his belief that the EU could ensure the rights of Russian-language minority in Ukraine would be safeguarded, an issue of great concerns also for Bulgaria, with its 250 000 to 300 000-strong population living in the country.
In the minister's words, there is still room for diplomacy to solve the Crimean crisis.
During Vigenin's visit to Berlin, the two foreign ministers also discussed the prospects of Bulgaria entering the Schengen area and the opening of German labor market. They also started talks on some obstacles that German businesses in Bulgaria are trying to overcome.
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