|Photo by: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO|
Bulgaria to present findings to EU on Burgas probe
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
Interior minister claims fake documents used by suspects was traced to Beirut, says identity of two or three suspects is known.
BERLIN – Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced Sunday that he
will meet with his EU counterparts on February 18, to discuss the results of an
investigation showing Hezbollah’s involvement in the murders of five Israelis
and a Bulgarian bus driver in Burgas last July.
Vessela Tcherneva, a
Bulgraian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told The Jerusalem Post via telephone on
Sunday that the foreign minister will brief the EU foreign ministers on the
“political aspects” of the Burgas investigation, under the “any other business”
section of the agenda.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov on
Tuesday accused two operatives from Hezbollah’s military wing of participating
in the bomb attack on a bus at Burgas Airport, which resulted in the deaths of
five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver and injured over 30
One of the three suspected terrorists died in the explosion,
which is believed to have been triggered by a remote control device.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman told the Post on Sunday that ministry official
Kalin Georgiev gave an interview on Saturday in which is he said that “the
investigation is entering a new stage, to collect direct evidence on the
perpetrators of the attack.”
The spokeswoman added that Georgiev said,
“The printer, which had printed out the fake documents of the bus bomber and his
two accomplices, has been tracked down to Beirut... our services and
investigation know the identity of two of three men.”
Radio, the largest private radio station in Bulgaria, conducted an interview
with the foreign minister in which he suggested that Bulgaria might be moving
toward the British position of sanctioning Hezbollah. The UK outlawed the
military wing of Hezbollah five years ago due to terrorism.
Bulgaria will in fact move forward with the terrorism designation, he said, “I
don’t see any other option...
but I want to note that we don’t have a
legal procedure to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization on our own. We
will work towards a common EU decision.”
Mladenov continued: “Now that we
have said they [Hezbollah’s military wing] are responsible for the Burgas
attack, we cannot have a soft or vague position.`” When questioned by Darik
Radio if France and Germany are hesitant to outlaw Hezbollah, he said, “We can’t
hide behind politically motivated arguments. They [Hezbollah} came here and
perpetrated a terrorist act on our territory. We need to have self respect and
speak the truth.”
“Our links lead to the military wing. We are not
talking about the party in the Lebanese parliament,” Mladenov
The Sofia News Agency reported Sunday that Bulgarian Prime
Minister Boyko Borisov thanked the US government for its assistance in the
Borisov and US Secretary of State John Kerry talked on
Saturday and Kerry praised the Bulgarian authorities for the “high
professionalism” of their investigation.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Foreign
Ministry on Sunday denied media reports that Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza
Bageri will leave the country and Tehran will downgrade its diplomatic relations
with Sofia over the findings that implicated Hezbollah, the Sofia News Agency
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.