Bulgaria FM visits J'lem, briefs PM on Burgas attack

Israelis tight-lipped about Mladenov's surprise visit; ongoing probe finds bombing plotted outside Bulgaria, executed by foreigners.

By REUTERS
January 17, 2013 19:05
1 minute read.
ZAKA man examines damage in Burgas

ZAKA man examines damage in Burgas 390. (photo credit: Avigdor Shatran)

 
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Israeli officials were tight-lipped Thursday about Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov’s surprise visit here to brief leaders on its probe into last July’s Burgas bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

While Israel blamed Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran for the attack, the Bulgarians have not yet issued their final report on the matter, due to be released either next week or the beginning of February.

The conclusions of the report are expected to have a significant impact on whether the EU finally adds Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations, something the US has already done and which Israel has been pushing for more than a decade. Such a move could lead to the freezing of Hezbollah’s assets in Europe.

According to Bulgarian and Israeli sources, Mladenov met Thursday with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as with National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror. No details of the meetings were forthcoming.

A Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the issue of the probe was discussed in the meetings. “Results of the investigation will be made public once it is completed and Bulgaria has enough evidence to back it up,” she added.


Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in Dublin for talks with European Union ministers on Thursday, was also expected to update Bulgaria's EU allies with the latest news, his office said.

Bulgaria has said the bombing was plotted outside the country and carried out by foreigners but has yet to publish full findings from its long-running investigation, which officials say is not yet complete.

In September, Britain and the Netherlands urged other EU governments to impose sanctions on Hezbollah for providing support to Syria's President Bashar Assad.

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