Defence Minister Confirms NATO Is to Station Command Centre in Bulgaria
Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev announced during parliamentary control on Friday that NATO is to station a command centre in the capital Sofia.
Nenchev dismissed the speculations that have arisen, following last week's visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that the Aliance is to station a military base near the Bulgarian seaside town of Shabla.
According to him, the issue for the stationing of a command centre and a military base was not raised to the attention of the Defence Ministry, Darik radio reports.
On the basis of a decision of the Ministerial Council, taken on 3 September 2014 during the NATO Summit in Wales, Bulgaria expressed support towards the pledge of the 28 member states to take the necessary measures to guarantee the security of the Alliance in view of the present threats.
In Nenchev's words, one of the steps foreseen by NATO concerns the creation of command and control structures, which will aid the implementation of the measures guaranteeing the security of the Alliance.
Their main purpose is coordinating and facilitating the planning and conduct of multinational military drills, synchronization with national planning as well as ensuring the reception and accommodation of other NATO formations.
At present, projections are that the command and control structure will be situated in Sofia, with 50 % of its personnel composed of troops coming from NATO member states.
Nenchev's statement comes a week after the chief of US Army Europe Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said in an interview for Stars and Stripes that surveys will be conducted in Eastern Europe to determine possible locations for tanks and military hardware.
Bulgaria was mentioned as one of the countries, where such a survey is going to take place and as a possible site for the storage of the military equipment.
Such a move will be taken in order to increase the US military presence in the region and reassure the allied countries in view of the continuing Russian involvement in Ukraine.
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