Shimon Peres: Bulgaria, Israel Small in Size, Big in Spirit

Politics » DIPLOMACY | January 11, 2010, Monday // 19:12| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Shimon Peres: Bulgaria, Israel Small in Size, Big in Spirit Bulgarian PM Borisov (left) with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday (front right). Bulgaria's Ministers of Defense - Mladenov, Interior - Tsvetanov, and Economy - Traikov - are in the back - left to right. Photo by BGNES

After meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Monday, Bulgaria’s PM Boyko Borisov met with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

“The relations between Bulgaria and Israel are a definition for “friendship”. I am thrilled by what you did for the Bulgarian. I only have one piece of criticism for you – I am not happy with the fact that you are doing little to show the beauty of Bulgaria and the wonderful Bulgarian people,” Peres told Borisov, as cited by BGNES.

Borisov responded to this criticism by announcing that Bulgaria would be represented at a large-scale tourism forum in Israel next month.

The Israeli President has praised the cooperation between Bulgaria and Israel in all fiends including fighting terrorism and fighting climate change. He underscored several times the role of the Bulgarian people in the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Nazi death camps during World War II.

“Bulgaria and Israel are small in size but that does not mean that they are small in spirit,” President Peres stated.

“To the patriarch of world politics with huge respect,” wrote Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov in the guest book of President Shimon Peres. In turn, Peres gave Borisov an autograph on a biographical book about him written by Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar, which was recently published in Bulgarian. Bar-Zohar is also known as the person who wrote the book telling the story about the rescue of Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust - “Beyond Hitler’s Grasp.”

Earlier on Monday, Bulgaria's PM also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who advised his Bulgaria counterpart to gradually reduce VAT as a measure to deal with the financial crisis.

Borisov, who is on a two day visit to Israel, stated that Netanyahu had suggested VAT reduction as a measure to reduce the affects of the financial crisis in Bulgaria.

“He (Netanyahu) said: the 10% tax you made is very good, but instead of waiting till 2011, it is a good idea to decrease VAT by 2%, reduce it 1/2% now and then again 1/2% in six months. On one hand it is good for foreign business, which will invest and it will also adjust the economy and finances of the country in the right direction,” Borisov said.

When asked whether Finance Minister Simeon Djankov would agree with the proposal Borisov concluded; “I hope he will agree. If he doesn’t, I will convince him to agree.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu reportedly said that he envied Borisov for not having to work in a coalition and that it was good that the Bulgarian people had shown courage to part from parties that had ruled the country for 20 years.

Borisov added that a Bulgarian PM had not come to Israel for 18 years and continued that Israel is a strategic partner for the future and one that future generations will not forget

"We agreed with his financial and economic adviser to come to Bulgaria even in the next few weeks to help us with advice..... Netanyahu himself made a commitment and expressed a desire to lead an Israeli business trip to Sofia soon," Borisov concluded.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Israel, Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, Israel President, Michael Bar-Zohar, Bulgarian Jews, rescue of Bulgarian Jews
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