WikiLeaks: Bulgaria Tied US Visas with Guantanamo Deal

Diplomacy | December 1, 2010, Wednesday // 15:18|  views

Bulgaria's Minister of the Interior, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, insisted Washington lifts the visa regime for Bulgarians in exchange for agreeing to accept two Guantanamo inmates. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Minister of the Interior, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, had expressed the country's readiness to accept two prisoners from Guantanamo under certain conditions.

The information was reported by the German Spiegel magazine, which is one of the media outlets having the entire volume of 250 000 classified cables sent from the US State Department to Embassies and diplomatic missions around the world.

These cables were published in tranches over the last three days by the notorious site WikiLeaks.

In exchange for accepting the two prisoners, Tsvetanov had insisted Washington lifts the visa regime for Bulgarians and for the US to pay all relocation expenses for the Guantanamo inmates. The cable lists modest amounts of between USD 50 000 to 80 000 per person.

Spiegel do not say what exact agreement had been reached, but a 38-year-old Syrian national was accepted in Bulgaria in May.

The negotiations were led by Daniel Fried, a US senior career diplomat, serving now as President Barack Obama's Special Envoy to facilitate the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Fried also had tough talks on Guantanamo in Berlin, Yemen, Slovenia, the Maldives, among others, according to Spiegel.

In all WikiLeaks classified documents, published and yet unpublished, Bulgaria has been mentioned a total of 2 925 times, Sofia – 1 393 times, and there are 978 cables to the US Embassy in Sofia.

Politicians have been ranked by being mentioned between 10 000 and 560 times with US President Obama, leading the list (9 380 times), followed by Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan (4 105). No Bulgarian politician has made the ranking.

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Tags: Wikileaks, SPEIGEL, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, US visa, Daniel Fried, Gunatanamo, Gunatanamo prisoners, inmates, Gunatanamo Bay detention camp


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