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Bulgaria-Russia: minister notes foundations for relations reset

January 14, 2014, 15:56 UTC+3 SOFIA
“In different periods, one government or another tried to block relations with Russia for reasons of ideology. These times are long behind,” Kristian Vigenin said
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Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristian Vigenin

Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristian Vigenin

© EPA/GEORGI LICOVSKI

SOFIA, January 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Projects such as the South Stream gas pipeline and resurrected plans to construct the Belene nuclear power plant were foundations for resetting relations between Russia and Bulgaria, the Balkan state's foreign minister told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview.

“In different periods, one government or another tried to block relations with Russia for reasons of ideology. These times are long behind,” Kristian Vigenin said. “It should be absolutely clear that Bulgaria has its commitments as a member of the EU and NATO but this by no means implies we should cease ties with Russia,” he added, hoping that as a strategic partner "Russia will take a more active part in developing ties”.

Looking to 2014 as the 135th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Vigenin eyed a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as "an important sign" of Russia's willingness to develop contacts. “If I’m not mistaken, no such visit has been made over the last six years,” Vigenin said.

An intergovernmental commission would convene in April in the capital, Sofia, to discuss economic and scientific co-operation, the minister said. This would end a long break, he added, hoping the event “will send a clear message to both Russian entrepreneurs and authorities that Bulgaria is willing to develop contacts and implement joint global projects”.

“We’ll show the Bulgarian people there are no obstacles in the way of active co-operation with Russia,” Vigenin said.

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