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Bulgarian-American cooperation at the focus of the talks of Minister Vigenin in Washington, DC

30 April 2014 News

Minister Kristian Vigenin held meetings at the Department of State and the U.S. Senate during  his working visit to Washington, DC, for participation in the events organized by the Atlantic Council to mark the anniversary of NATO and EU enlargement.

Minister Vigenin discussed with the Deputy U.S. Secretary of State, William Burns, the prospects of including Bulgaria in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, the partnership in the field of security and defense, as well as the cooperation in the field of energy security. The American partners reaffirmed their desire to continue the joint efforts in order for Bulgaria to meet the criteria to abolish visa requirements for Bulgarian citizens. The American side praised the commitment of our country to train representatives of the Libyan security forces, as well as the role of the country to stabilize Afghanistan.

At the focus of the conversation was the situation in Ukraine and the efforts of the EU and the U.S. to find a peaceful way out of the crisis. Minister Vigenin emphasized that given the serious potential losses for Bulgaria and other European countries, he hopes that the imposition of EU economic sanctions against Russia will be avoided. His American colleagues noted that a careful, yet firm approach towards Russiais needed.

They also raised the topic ofthe fight against corruption in Bulgaria. Minister Vigenin underlined Bulgaria's efforts in this area as a means to achieve a better business environment and to attract investments in our country.

At the U.S. Department of State, Minister Vigenin met with Tina Kaidanow, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State and Ambassador Robert Bradtke, Advisor on cooperation with partners on the penetration of foreign mercenaries in Syria. The American side praised the level of cooperation between the law enforcement authorities of the two countries and expressed gratitude for the partnership of Bulgaria in combating terrorism.

The situation in Ukraine and the consequences for the security of Europe were the main topics of the meeting of Minister Vigenin with Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. They expressed their support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability of Ukraine and the right of Ukrainian people to determine their own future. Minister Vigenin noted the need to strengthen the unity of NATO, promote the transatlantic ties and continue the enlargement process of the EU and NATO, which will provide additional guarantees of the security and stability in Southeastern Europe. With regard to the imposition of new sanctions, Minister Vigenin called for a pragmatic approach and said that the short-term measures must be balanced together with planning of a long-term approach to the relations with Russia.

Today the Bulgarian foreign minister will attend the "Toward a Europe Whole and Free" conference.  He will participate in the panel discussion "Consolidating Europe's South" together with the foreign ministers of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro.

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