Bulgarian President while on a visit to Portugal: Killing of Civilians during a Conflict is a War Crime
“The use of chemical weapons and the killing of civilians during conflict is a war crime. After witnessing so many innocent civilian victims already, our call is for the possible organization of an independent international investigation as soon as possible.” Thus, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev commented on the war in Ukraine from Portugal, where he is on an official visit.
“We must understand the truth and all those responsible for these barbaric acts must be punished as soon as possible. If we do not, this war will continue. The more innocent civilian victims there are, the more difficult it will be to establish peace,” the head of state commented.
According to Radev, whether NATO should intervene in the conflict is an extremely delicate issue. “We already have clear statements from the Secretary-General of the Alliance and President Joe Biden, as well as other heads of state, that NATO's intervention in Ukraine poses a huge risk of World War III. The great concern is that this war will not escalate into a nuclear conflict. At least 6,000 nuclear warheads are in the Russian Federation's arsenal,” he warned.
Radev is adamant that all possible opportunities should be sought to stop “criminal acts” without risking a global conflict with irreparable consequences.
The decision for North Macedonia
Radev recalled the position stated before Albanian President Ilir Meta that Bulgaria unconditionally supports the start of Albania's EU membership talks. “I would like to thank Portugal as far as the Republic of North Macedonia is concerned, that during the extremely successful Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the 1 + 5 package was developed, which is now 1 + 4,” the president said.
“Extremely effective, well-thought-out package based on the implementation of clear principles enshrined in the Copenhagen criteria concerning non-discrimination, respect for human rights, eradication of hate speech, mutual respect, preservation of Bulgaria's cultural and historical heritage in RN Macedonia” he added.
According to the president, valuable time has been lost in looking for other ways to open the door to start membership talks for North Macedonia. “We will need more time for RNM to meet the requirements of this package,” Radev said. He added: “If the Macedonian side had already started working intensively on this package, which was developed during the Portuguese presidency, I could now give an affirmative answer,” the head of state said.
Bilateral relations with Portugal
“The history of relations between Bulgaria and Portugal is an example of mutual understanding and cooperation. We are connected by a sincere friendship based on common values and understandings for the future of Europe,” Radev said.
“We appreciate the achievements in the development of bilateral relations with Portugal. At a time of testing, of challenges to European unity, it is of the utmost importance that the two outermost countries show that they can work together, reaffirm their common vision and goals for a more secure European Union,” he said.
Radev thanked Portugal for its readiness to participate in strengthening NATO's eastern flank with a military contingent. “This is extremely important to demonstrate our determination and unity in upholding our freedom, democracy and values,” he added.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa thanked Radev for his third visit to the country in three years. “This shows well the friendship between nations, peoples and the friendship between us that unites us. I congratulate you and thank you for your presence,” he said.
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