US to Expand Military Presence in Bulgaria, Ambassador Says
US Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Seth Rubin has said his country deploy an additional number of troops and provide more trainings next year.
Answering to questions during his meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce, he has added the move will be part of an overall boost in capabilities deployed to the Black Sea region.
BGNES wire service quotes him as praising the joint work between Bulgaria and the US, but also between Bulgaria and NATO, on trainings and military drills given the importance of the Black Sea which will be a "challenge" in the future.
He has also hailed relations of the current government with the US administration and has welcomed the ambition shown by the cabinet for a number of reforms.
"I think the answer to your question is 'Yes'," Ambassador Rubin told former Foreign Minister and Atlantic Club chair Solomon Passy as the latter asked about a possible increase in capabilities deployed.
"We already are doing a lot more than we were a few years ago, and I think given the challenges in the world we can see that increase as well," Mr Rubin is quoted as saying in a transcript of his reply which Novinite later received from the US Embassy.
"We’re looking at a very significant increase as we go forward to next year, not just in exercises and training but also in rotation of units and equipment from NATO allies here to ensure that there’s a constant ability to learn how to work together, to train together, within NATO and that includes the Black Sea.
I think you will see there’s already planning underway for significant increase, which will be including multiple NATO allies with the United States, Bulgaria, and Romania working together to address the challenges in the Black Sea, including with naval forces, and I think you will see significant increase in that between our Navy and your Navy this year."
"We will hopefully be able to contribute to the improvements of those facilities," he added, referring to the Novo Selo Training Area and Graf Ignatievo Air Base.
While there were no concrete steps planned in terms of naval facilities, the Ambassador voiced his hope that "we'll be able to to do more in that area as well."
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