Peres with new ambassadors 390.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday when Bulgaria’s new
ambassador, Dimitar Mihaylov, addressed him in Hebrew when presenting him with
his letter of credence.
Mihaylov has never been to Israel before, nor is
In fact, his last diplomatic appointment was as Bulgaria’s
ambassador to Syria, where he spent seven years. Moreover, he is an alumnus of
the University of Damascus, where he studied Arabic Literature. He also has a
PhD in the history of Islam from the University of Sofia. A career diplomat,
Mihaylov has been with Bulgaria’s Foreign Service for more than 20
Mihaylov was the first of five new ambassadors who presented
credentials on Tuesday.
Another was Ernest Sowatey Lomotey, the
ambassador of Ghana, whose immediate predecessor, Henry Hanson-Hall, was still
in Israel at the end of last week.
Lomotey said that he had been charged
by Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, to deepen the relationship between
the two countries and to form an even closer relationship with Mashav, Israel’s
Agency for International Development Cooperation.
Peres makes a point of
telling new ambassadors that Israel is a warm and friendly country in which they
can feel at home. When he said that to Greece’s new envoy, Spyridon Lampridis,
the latter replied to him in Hebrew that he really does feel at home, completing
the sentence with the words ‘hazarti habayta’ (I have returned
Lampridis served at a lower diplomatic level in Israel some 20
years ago, and is very pleased to be back in his present
Latvian Ambassador Andris Vilcans has been a career diplomat
since 1991. He conveyed greetings from President Andres Berzins, who he said is
looking forward to hosting Peres at the end of July.
Aside from positions
that Vilcans has held in his country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he has
served as ambassador to Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Georgia and was nonresident
ambassador to Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania and
Nonresident Ambassador George Talbot, who is stationed in New
York where he is his country’s permanent representative to the United Nations,
is the first ambassador of Guyana to Israel.
In September, last year, he
was elected to chair the UN Second Committee on Economics and Finance. He was
the first representative of a Caricom member state of the UN to hold the
Peres was confident that Mihaylov will enhance economic,
political and scientific relations between the two countries, and said that
Israel would never forget the friendship and courage of the Bulgarian people
during the World War II when they protected their Jewish citizens from the
He was also appreciative of the way Bulgaria dealt with last
year’s terror attack on a tour bus that claimed Israeli and Bulgarian
Mihaylov said that rather than focus on government-togovernment
relations, he will devote himself more toward utilizing Bulgarian Jews in Israel
as a bridge between the two countries.
Turning to the situation in Syria,
Mihaylov said that it was detrimental and destroying Syrian society.
Regrettably, he could not see a solution to Syria’s troubles.
“None of us
can remain indifferent to the bloodshed in Syria. It’s not a political issue but
a human one,” said Peres. “It’s an Arab problem and the Arab League will have to