PM Borissov: Bulgaria and US are strategic partnersEuropost , Sofia
On Monday Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew A. Palmer. Borissov is quoted as saying that Bulgaria and the United States are allies and strategic partners, and that the cooperation between the two countries continues to expand not only in the bilateral ties but also in NATO and within the EU-US relations.
Borissov said that security and defence are two key aspects of the bilateral dialogue. The PM went on to note that the two countries' armed forces take part in many joint exercises, including such within NATO, and that Bulgaria's acquisition of eight F-16 Block 70 jet fighters is a big step in the modernization of the country's Air Force.
Another focus of the meeting was how to boost further the economic exchange between Bulgaria and the United States. The participants in the talks noted the steady increase in the two-way commercial exchange which grew 3.7 per cent in January-September 2019 compared to the like period in 2018.
Borissov said that Bulgaria's possible inclusion in the US visa waiver programme would certainly open new ways for economic cooperation and strengthen contact between the people.
The participants in the meeting assessed in positive terms the bilateral cooperation in the area of energy, noting that it contributes to Bulgaria's energy security and diversification of energy sources and routes.
The two officials also discussed the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans. Borissov said that the viable prospect for accession to the EU and NATO remains a key driving force for the positive transformation in the region. He said that NATO and the EU should cooperate closely to achieve good interaction in their communication with the countries in the Western Balkans.
Later in the day Palmer conferred with Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, Zaharieva's Ministry said in a press release. The two officials noted that the EU should demonstrate greater commitment in the countries in the Western Balkans to encourage their Euro-Atlantic integration. The two also voiced disappointment with the absence of a decision by the European Council on a start of accession talks by North Macedonia and Albania.
Palmer noted the example Bulgaria gave by signing the Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbourliness and Cooperation with North Macedonia, saying that the treaty set the tone between Skopje and Athens for signing the Prespa Agreement.
Zaharieva and Palmer also noted the need for a greater commitment of the Euro-Atlantic partners in respect of the blocked dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, and in respect of the reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina.