Bulgaria Asked to Send Security Forces to Iraq

Politics | April 16, 2003, Wednesday // 00:00

The United States have asked Bulgaria to send security troops to Iraq, Deputy Defence Minister Ivo Ivanov told reporters Wednesday.

This will change the decision taken by the parliament on February 7, to send a chemical and biological unit in a neighbouring Iraq country. In an earlier decision there was a proposal for an engineering unit to be sent.

It is not clear yet what will be the size of this military unit, with discussions currently underway at the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

Bulgaria is asked to commit a company or a larger unit. A company is easiest to built while it will take some time to form a larger unit because the financial and other terms have to be weighed in, Ivanov said.

He added that the best option would be to include members of the chemical and biological unit already at disposal.

According to Ivanov, the agreement that Bulgaria has with the US on the participation of Bulgarian troops in the Iraq operation, is enough and a new one is not necessary.

The Bulgarian Government will pay the support of this new guarding unit. The daily allowance of USD 100 will not change since the risk factor remains the same.

Minister Ivanov pointed out that this isn't a new official request from the US Government.

A day earlier the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Lubomir Todorov said that the initiative for sending a Bulgarian military mission in Iraq does not belong to Bulgaria.

It was announced that the Cabinet will propose to Parliament to reconsider its decision on Bulgaria's Gulf mission unit, so that its joint activities with the coalition units on the territory of post-war Iraq are allowed.

The governmental speaker Dimitar Tsonev explained that after the collapse of Bagdad the deployment of the Bulgarian chemical unit on the territory of Iraq after the end of the military actions is being discussed by the Coalition commandment and Bulgaria.

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