'Bulgaria shares warm ties with Israel'

Bulgarian FM Nikolay Mladenov calls visit the sign of a "true friend."

Nikolay Mladenov and Shimon Peres (photo credit: AP)
Nikolay Mladenov and Shimon Peres
(photo credit: AP)
The relations between our countries come from an emotional connection,not our economic interests, Bulgarian Foreign Minister NikolayMladenov said to President Shimon Peres during a meeting on Tuesday.
"I came to visit in order to underline that true friends are notonly friends when it suits them, but during the true hour of need," Mladenovsaid.
He continued to say that the close ties with Israel stems from ashared history during World War II. "We are lucky that the majority ofBulgarian Jews were saved and were able to go on to buildIsrael. This [history] creates a strong, emotional connection and responsibilityon our part to ensure Israel's safety and its future."
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"As members of the European Union and NATO, we want to have a betterunderstanding of your standpoint. We want to help advance the peaceprocess because Israel's security effects Europe and Bulgaria'ssecurity," the Bulgarian foreign minister asserted.
"Israel's prosperity influences all of us," he continued, "Sofia and Tel Aviv are not that far apart from each other."
"We share [Israel's] worries regarding certain aspects of thesituation. Particularly regarding Iran's nuclear program," Mladenovexclaimed.
"We believe that the UN and EU's sanctions need to be properlyunderstood in Teheran, and the proper way to dole out the sanctions isnot to close the door, but rather to call for a complete and opennegotiation regarding the character of Iran's nuclear plan. Everythingneeds to be laid out on the table, and we need to implement the UN SecurityCouncil's decisions and impede their uranim enrichment program," headded.