Bulgaria Plans to Re-Open Consulate in Benghazi

Diplomacy | March 30, 2011, Wednesday // 15:54|  views

A boy poses in front of an anti-Gadaffi graffiti in Benghazi, Libya, 28 March 2011. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's government is set to re-open the country's consulate in the Libyan town of Benghazi, although it does not recognize the Libyan opposition transitional National Council as a legitimate government.

"We should find a way to open a real political process of national reconciliation and transition to democracy in Libya," Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said in a statement.

"In this context our country will expand its presence in Libya through re-establishing its consulate in Benghazi," he added.

The consulate is expected to open doors within weeks.

The consulate in Benghazi, Libya's second city and a leading focus of protests against four decades of rule by Col Muammar Gaddafi, was closed shortly after the release in July 2007 of five Bulgarian nurses jailed for over eight years in a travesty AIDS trial.

Eleven years after their arrest and the horrors of Libya's jails, the Bulgarian medics, who were sentenced to death twice in the Jamahiriya, were morally vindicated earlier this year when Libya admitted that Muammar Gaddafi is behind the HIV outbreak in Benghazi.

Libya's former Justice Minister, who joined the anti-Gaddafi forces in the country, stated at the end of February that not the Bulgarian medics, but the regime of leader Muammar Gaddafi was responsible for infecting more than 400 children with HIV.

Mustafa Abudel-Jalil made the statement for Al Jazeera, saying the trial involving Bulgarian medics was just one of several serious crimes committed by Gaddafi's regime against his own people.

With this statement, Gaddafi's formerly closest aide acquitted morally the Bulgarian medics, who have been turned into scapegoats, and cleared the tarnish, with which Bulgaria has been smeared for more than a decade.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Tripoli, Libya, Benghazi, Gaddafi, Muammar, Bulgarian


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