Tripoli Invites Bulgaria to Renegotiate Libyan Debt

Diplomacy | September 7, 2011, Wednesday // 11:13|  views

Libyans step on an image of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the embassy of Libya in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 25, 2011. Photo by BGNES

Libya is inviting Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to renegotiate Tripoli's debt to Bulgaria, according to the new Libyan Ambassador in Sofia, Issa Omar Ashur.

Ashur is further quoted by the private TV channel bTV voicing his firm conviction Bulgaria's cabinet and the Libyan rebel Transition National Council, NTC, will establish good relations and work well together.

The diplomat spoke while taking a bTV crew on a tour of the Libyan Embassy, after his predecessors, appointed by troubled Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, were expelled from Bulgaria by the country's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

bTV further reports that the Embassy's building looked deserted and all symbols of the Gaddafi regime have been removed. The portraits of the dictator have not been replaced, at least for the time being, with those of the new Libyan leader.

"There is no portrait because we want everything to be done in a democratic way. We want our people to elect their leader, something that is yet to happen," the Ambassador had pointed out.

In his first interview after arriving to Bulgaria, Ashur states that talks on renegotiation of Libyan debt, which Borisov vowed to demand earlier, can begin ASAP.

"Your PM and the Minister in charge can visit Tripoli immediately and meet representatives of the NTC cabinet to discuss the matter. We are ready for partnership," the diplomat says.

He also invited the Bulgarian medics, who spent 8 years in Libyan jail, after being sentenced to death on charges they have purposely infected Benghazi children with AIDS, and were released due to international pressure on the Gaddafi regime, to visit him at the Embassy and talk about all issues important to them.

"Libyan people have no guilt whatsoever regarding the trial against these Bulgarian citizens. We were also oppressed by the regime," Ashur explained.

The diplomat was Ambassador to Somalia before arriving in Sofia.

Last Friday, in a TV interview, Borisov declared Bulgaria will be relentless in asking compensations from Libya over the case with the Bulgarian medics and in claiming renegotiations on Libyan debt. These statements were immediately labeled "populism" by the presidential candidate of the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Member of the European Parliament and ex Foreign Affairs Minister, Ivaylo Kalfin.

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