Bulgaria in Informal Talks for Joining US Missile Defense
The United States and Bulgaria are currently in the stage of unofficial talks over the possibility of the latter joining the US missile defense in Europe.
This has been stated by US Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick, during his lecture at the Atlantic Club in Sofia, as cited by BTA.
His Excellency made it clear that the question of Bulgaria joining the US missile defense in Europe was still at a very early stage, and that the US would like to only hold consultations with the Bulgarian government at the moment. No formal request has been made to Bulgaria on part of the US government in that respect.
Warlick said America would not want to make Bulgaria choose between Washington and Moscow, and that both the USA and Bulgaria would like to see a prosperous Russia with which they would want to have good relations.
The US Ambassador has praised Bulgaria for its participation in the international operation in Afghanistan.
“The decision of where to locate elements of the US missile defense in Europe is half mathematical, half political. I think that in the spirit of the established military cooperation between the USA and Bulgaria, it would be rather natural for Bulgaria to invite the US to locate elements of missile shield on Bulgarian territory,” said Solomon Passy, President of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria and former Foreign Minister (2001-2005).
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, has commented that the decision of Bulgaria to join the US missile defense was not up to him, and that the Bulgarian government will expect the positions of the European Commission and the Bulgarian Parliament on that issue.
“We are going to await answers from two places – the European Commission – because we are an EU member state, and from the Bulgarian Parliament. My opinion is that we should show solidarity with our partners. I believe that when you are a member of NATO you should work for the collective security,” declared the Bulgarian Prime Minister.
Last week Romania announced that it was going to accept on its territory elements from the US missile defense in Europe.
According to the US, its planned missile shield in Europe is designed to protect its European allies from missile attacks by countries such as Iran. However, it has antagonized Russia which sees it as directed against it.
The Obama Administration has revisited the plans of the Bush Administration to locate elements of the missile shield in Poland and Czech Republic, and has announced that it was going to naval based systems at first, and would look for possible locations for land based systems in Eastern and Southern Europe.
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