Bulgaria NGOs Demand Referendum on US Defense Shield

Politics » DEFENSE | March 4, 2010, Thursday // 17:01
Bulgaria NGOs Demand Referendum on US Defense Shield: Bulgaria NGOs Demand Referendum on US Defense Shield Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov rejects reports that formal talks are going on for locating US missile defense elements in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Non-Government Organizations have united in their demand to hold a referendum about adopting elements of the planned US missile defense shield in the country.

The National Movement “Russophiles”, the Forum “Bulgaria – Russia,” and the Slavic Union in Bulgaria are all against the US defense shield, and say the issue is of prime importance for the national security and needs to be subject to a wide public and institutional debate with clearly stated pros and cons and full transparency.

“Bulgaria must be a foreseeable partner of the EU and NATO, but also of all countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East,” the declaration reads.

For this reason the 3 NGO's firmly oppose political circles in Bulgaria and abroad “attempting to manipulate the public opinion and avoid the Bulgarian people when debating and adopting decisions crucial for their future and safety.”

Recently, US Ambassador in Sofia James Warlick, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov and Foreign Minister Mladenov made statements that elements of the US missile shield in Europe might be located on Bulgarian territory, prompting Russia to request clarifications over the aims and essence of any US-Bulgarian negotiations in that respect.

US Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick, explained then the only discussions between the US and Bulgaria on the missile defense shield were held informally within NATO. Warlick said that Bulgaria and the US were at the stage of unofficial talks over the possibility of Bulgaria joining the US missile defense in Europe.

Ellen Tauscher, the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, also stated that the US has not requested Bulgaria to adopt elements of the planned US missile defense shield but that the option is still open.

Bulgaria's Foreign and Defense Ministers further rejected reports that Bulgaria is holding official talks about adopting elements of the shield.

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Tags: Russia, US, missile defense, US missile defense shield
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