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Bulgarian foreign minister’s visit a landmark in relations with Pakistan

The first visit by a Foreign Minister from the Republic of Bulgaria is a landmark in the relations that exist between the republic and Pakistan and indicates its desire to further expand and promote its bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Foreign Minister, Nickolay Mladenov, was here on a brief visit with a busy schedule and before he left he was the guest of honour at a reception hosted by the Charge d’ Affaires of the embassy of Bulgaria, Roumen Pirontchev. The reception, which was a gents only affair though some women were present in their own right, was attended by ambassadors of the European Union; the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Malik Amad; the Saifullah brothers Anwar and Salim; Senator Nisar Memon and the Honorary Consul General of Bulgaria. A representative of the American embassy was also present as were a few other Pakistanis of note who are interacting with Bulgarian counterparts or are business partners.

The visitor said he had very successful meetings with Pakistani officials and was optimistic that the discussion would lead to an improvement in bilateral relations in various fields including defence, economy, trade and culture. Adding that both countries have decided to expand political consultations for which their next round will be held sometime this year, he said that his country appreciates Pakistan role in the fight against terrorism.

Expanding on the subject, delegation member and spokesperson MFA Bulgaria, Vessela Tcherneva said that Bulgaria had decided to upgrade the embassy to ambassador level; that both countries have decided to establish linkages between their major universities; that Bulgaria has rich experience in generating coal energy and can share its experience with Pakistan – which has a vast reserve of coal deposits — to overcome the energy crisis; that Bulgaria fully supports Pakistan’s efforts in the European Union to get trade concessions and improve its economy and that about Euros 60,000 will be distributed among the relevant groups for rehabilitation and rebuilding of schools in flood affected areas. On a lighter note, she said Islamabad was an ‘interesting’ place and she would like to visit again for a longer stay.

Also present in the delegation was Director, Asia, Australia and Oceania Directorate, Angel Orbetsov who was posted in Pakistan about 12 years ago. He expressed the opinion that Islamabad had changed a lot, but still retained some of its charm despite the barriers and security checks and wondered aloud how it would compare with living here many years ago. A Pakistani guest expressed the opinion that the visitor was very bright and had a great future ahead of him.

Nikolay Evtimov Mladenov was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on January 27th 2010 and between July 2009 and January 2010 he was Minister of Defence. He has also been a Member of the European Parliament and first came to Pakistan during the 2008 elections. He served on the Foreign Affairs Committee — Security and Defence Subcommittee, and on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. He was also vice-chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq and served on the delegations for Israel and Afghanistan.

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