Bulgarian Civilians in Iraq "Would Put the Unit at Risk"

Politics | August 28, 2003, Thursday // 00:00

Sending Bulgarian civilians to administrate the Iraqi city of Karbala -- and join the peacekeepers already stationed in the city -- will increase the risk for the Bulgarian contingent to get involved in some accidents, Bulgaria's Defence Minister Nikolay Svinarov told the Darik Radio Thursday.

Sofia mulls the possibility to send no more than fifteen, twenty civilian experts, who will not be only officials from the Defense Ministry. The issue will see its solution as early as next week, Svinarov told Darik Radio.

Minister Svinarov reiterated earlier statements of the president and the prime minister, assuring that no talks on changing the tasks assigned to the Bulgarian contingent have been held so far. He specified however that Bulgaria has shown willingness to hold such talks should the need for this arise.

Two days earlier military control over Iraq's second holiest Shia city, Karbala, was handed over to a Bulgarian military governor. Bulgarian Lt. Col. Petko Marinov pledged to continue cooperation with the marines with local authorities that have been established to this point.

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