Foreign relations of Bulgaria


Foreign relations of Bulgaria

Bulgaria has generally good relations with its neighbors and has proved to be a constructive force in the region under socialist and democratic governments alike. Promoting regional stability, Bulgaria hosted a Southeast European Foreign Ministers meeting in July 1996, and an OSCE conference on Black Sea cooperation in November 1995. Bulgaria also participated in the 1996 South Balkan Defense Ministerial in Albania and is active in the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative.

Overview

With their close historical, cultural, and economic ties, Bulgaria seeks a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, on which it is largely dependent for energy supplies. Sporadic negotiations are underway among Greece, Bulgaria, and Russia for construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline to transport Caspian Sea oil from the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupoli on the northern Aegean coast.

Bulgaria's EU Association Agreement came into effect in 1994, and Bulgaria formally applied for full EU membership in December 1995. During the 1999 EU summit in Helsinki, the country was invited to start membership talks with the Union. On January 1, 2007 Bulgaria officially became a member of the European Union. In 1996, Bulgaria acceded to the Wassenaar Arrangement controlling exports of weapons and sensitive technology to countries of concern and also was admitted to the World Trade Organization. Bulgaria is a member of the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. After a period of equivocation under a socialist government, in March 1997 a UDF-led caretaker cabinet applied for full NATO membership, which became a reality in April 2004.

Bulgaria and the United States signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2006 providing for military bases and training camps of the U.S. Army in Bulgaria, as part of the Pentagon's restructuring plan.

NATO

Bulgaria joined NATO's Partnership for Peace in 1994 and applied for NATO membership in 1997. During the November 2002 Prague Summit Bulgaria was one of seven former socialist countries invited to join the Alliance. Bulgaria became a member of NATO in April 2004. The country is also working toward NATO compatibility in communications and training, and has established a Peacekeeping Training Center.

UN

In 2003, Bulgaria was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, proving to be one of 3 closest U.S. allies during the Iraqi Crisis, together with the UK and Spain. Bulgaria also presides the OSCE in 2004.

Illicit drugs

Major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals.

Libya

In the late 1990s a Libyan children's hospital was the site of an outbreak of HIV infection that spread to over 400 patients. Libya blamed the outbreak on Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, who were arrested and eventually sentenced to death. The international view was that Libya has used the medics as scapegoats for poor hygiene conditions, and Bulgaria with the support of its main allies the European Union and the United States repeatedly called on Tripoli to release them. The medics were finally extradited to Bulgaria and immediately pardoned at Sofia Airport on July 24, 2007.

Republic of Macedonia

The rules governing good neighbourly relations agreed between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia were set in the reaffirmed by a joint memorandum signed on January 22, 2008 in Sofia. [: "Recommendations on the development of good neighbourly relations following Bulgaria’s accession to the EU and in the context of NATO and EU enlargement in the Western Balkans". Sofia: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2008. 80 pp. (Trilingual publication in Bulgarian, Macedonian and English) ISBN 978-954-92032-2-6]

See also

* Bulgarian diplomatic missions
* List of diplomatic missions in Bulgaria
* List of joint US-Bulgarian military bases

Sources

External links

* [http://www.mfa.government.bg/index.php?newlang=eng Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


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