|Bulgaria Prepared For NATO Membership |
Bulgaria Prepared For NATO Membership
Address by Radi Naydenov, Deputy Minister of Defence of Bulgaria at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for the opportunity to share with you some of the Bulgarian views and ideas relating to the challenges of the day.
In the context of the changes in the security environment in Europe and the world in general, today's meeting is an important milestone in seeking fruitful and effective cooperation among the States for the establishment of stability and peace on the planet.
Summarizing the activities at both national and international /including regional/ level, we can say that Bulgaria is acting as a de facto full-fledged member of the Alliance. Bulgaria has been working hard since 1997 to present itself as an attractive NATO candidate with a strategic geographic location, improving economy and stable institutions. The immediate foreign policy aim of receiving an invitation for accession into NATO at the forthcoming summit of the member-counties in Prague in the autumn of 2002 is categorically supported by the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic.
September the 11th events highlighted in a new way and reiterated Bulgaria's decision and preparation for NATO accession. As a follow-up and practical implementation of the Agreement of March 2001 between Bulgaria and NATO for transit passing of NATO forces and equipment through the territory of the country, the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria approved with full consensus a bilateral military agreement between Bulgaria and the USA for transiting of forces and presence of forces in support of the operation in Afghanistan. A temporary US Air Force base has started functioning at the airport of Bourgas.
These are only a few of the activities initiated by the Bulgarian government, in response and in conjunction with the efforts of the international community to hold a campaign against terrorism in the world. Bulgaria is ready to conclude similar Agreements with other Member States should they be interested in doing so.
From national perspective Bulgaria's preparation for NATO membership includes a new approach towards the training and activities of Bulgarian Armed Forces as active participants and supporters of anti-terrorist operations both in the country and in the region. The changes, envisaged to be made in the Military doctrine, are viewed in relation with and following the same logic.
Regional cooperation and interaction are an important part of Bulgaria's contribution to the efforts of the international community to build a peaceful and democratic Europe. The progress of the neighboring countries towards prosperity and integration in the Euro Atlantic democratic community is seen both as success for Bulgaria as well as a success by Bulgaria. Within the framework of the NATO initiative for South Eastern Europe /SEEI/, Bulgaria is playing an active role in the coordination and improvement of regional cooperation and interaction. As an initiator of the SEEGROUP and the chairman of its first meeting, Bulgaria remains an important factor for guarantying the peace and security of South Eastern Europe.
We are all looking forward to the forthcoming summit with the confidence that the decisions it is going to make will have a great impact on the achievement and promotion of peace and stability on the planet.