Bulgarian FM Kristian Vigenin Meets Russia's Sergey Lavrov in Sofia

Politics » DIPLOMACY | July 7, 2014, Monday // 09:28
Bulgaria: Bulgarian FM Kristian Vigenin Meets Russia's Sergey Lavrov in Sofia Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) with Bulgaria's top diplomat Kristian Vigenin in Sofia, July 7. Photo by EPA/BGNES.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is meeting his counterpart Kristian Vigenin on July 7, during his official visit to Bulgaria.

He is to mark the 135th anniversary since diplomatic relations were established between Bulgaria and Russia, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said in a statement to the media.

The South Stream gas pipeline project, which Bulgaria froze after calls from the EU Commission, is also expected to be on the agenda.

According to ITAR-TASS agency, Russia Today and other media outlets from the country, South Stream is actually the key issue Lavrov intends to settle during his stay.

This is the first bilateral visit of a Russian top diplomat to Sofia in 17 years, with his prior two trips to the country dealing with economic agreements or Bulgaria's commitments as OSCE rotational chair in 2004.

Lavrov and Vigenin are to sign agreements outlining cooperation in healthcare and medicine.

A joint press conference is scheduled for 14:30 EEST.

During his visit, Lavrov will meet with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, and Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov as well.

"We hope to exchange views on the situation in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Black Sea region, the approach of the two countries to human rights issues, to combating terrorism and other new challenges and threats, both globally and in a bilateral format," a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said.

Meanwhile, two protests against the visit of Russia's Foreign Minister will be held on Monday in Sofia. The protests will be staged under the slogan “Put an end to Bulgaria's energy dependence on Russia. Do not betray Bulgaria! Lavrov, go home!” and will take place in front of the Foreign Ministry and in front of the Council of Ministers building.

As scheduled, protesters against the diplomatic event have already gathered near the Council of Ministers and the Presidency.

Energy dependence of Bulgaria and Russia's stance on the Ukraine crisis are among main factures pushing some people to express their anger at the visit. Photo by BGNES

Far-right (and Russophile) party Ataka is set to hold a "counter-protest" in support of Lavrov's visit

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Tags: protests, Plamen Oresharski, Rosen Plevneliev, Kristian Vigenin, Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, South stream
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