Bulgaria Seeks 'Fine Balance' amid Russia-Turkey Tensions - AFP

Views on BG | February 3, 2016, Wednesday // 12:36
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Seeks 'Fine Balance' amid Russia-Turkey Tensions - AFP Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has repeatedly admitted he has been subject to recent pressure from both Turkey and Russia. File photo, BGNES

Sofia is trying to benefit from Russia-Turkey tensions to restore relations with Moscow, an AFP analysis published by several media outlets reads.

The first session in years held by the Bulgarian-Russian economic cooperation committee, held last week in Sofia, is cited as "a sign of thawing relations".

Another of the "friendly signals", the author opines, is the inclusion of Buffy, Russian President Vladimir Putin's Bulgarian shepherd dog he received as a gift while on a visit to Sofia in 2010, in a 2016 calendar compiled with his images.

The issue of Bulgaria's plans to set up a "gas hub" which would count on Russia as one of the main sources of supply is also touched in the article, after it was discussed at the intergovernmental committee's meeting.

"Balkan", as the gas hub project is named, has been approved by the EU Commission in principle

Russia's Deputy Justice Minister Sergey Gerasimov, who was sent to Sofia for the committee session, is however quoted as sayign that the two countries are now "awaiting the sorting-out of a series of technical questions with the European Commission"

With the tourism industry in Bulgaria hardly hit by a "steep drop in Russian visitors" with the fall of the rouble and slumping oil prices prompting Russians to tighten their belts, the possibility of diverting Russian tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria was also broached during the meeting.

But with Sofia also seeking to maintain its good relations with Ankara, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov is quoted as admitting he was subjected to pressure coming from both sides in the recent spat. This is also a reference to recent tensions within the second-biggest opposition party, predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).

AFP's article is available here.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Russia, turkey, gas, gas hub, Boyko Borisov, Sergey Gerasimov, Vladimir Putin, Buffy, DPS

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