Israeli Envoy Refutes NYT Report of Broken Ties with Bulgaria

Diplomacy | July 31, 2012, Tuesday // 13:23|  views

The Ambassador of Israel to Sofia, Shaul Kamisa-Raz (c), met Tuesday with Bulgaria's Health Minister, Desislava Atanasova (l). Photo by BGNES

The relations between Bulgaria and Israel are extremely warm and good, according to the Ambassador of Israel to Sofia, Shaul Kamisa-Raz.

The diplomat made the statement in connection with the Tuesday article, published in NY Times, under the title "After Bus Bombing, Bulgaria's Ties with Israel Are at Risk."

The July 18 terrorist attack in Bulgaria's Burgas, also known as the Burgas Bus Bombing, killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver at the Sarafovo Airport.

The Ambassador stressed that the visit of Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Mesizhnikov in Sofia, just days after the attack, and his Bulgarian counterpart, Delyan Dobrev's current trip to Israel, are stark proof of the great relations between the two countries. He also gave as example the upcoming meeting between a number of members of the cabinets of Bulgaria and Israel, scheduled for September.

Kamisa-Raz further said that the authors of the article most likely don't want the wellbeing of Bulgaria and don't have real knowledge about the true situation.

The diplomat spoke during a meeting Tuesday with Bulgaria's Health Minister, Desislava Atanasova.

Officials discussed plans for partnership in the areas of in vitro procedures, transplants, emergency care training of Bulgarian doctors in Israel, preferences for the treatment of Bulgarians, particularly children, in Israeli hospitals, and reaction to disasters and emergency situations, among others.

The contract for partnership in the healthcare sector will be signed by the two countries during the inter-cabinet meeting in Israel in September.

The two parties thanked each other for the mutual assistance in dealing with the Burgas terror act.

"This attack will not change our plans, our way of life, and the adequate response to terror will be to increase our partnership in all sectors. We will organize a trip of Israeli medical personnel to Bulgaria to bring letters of gratitude to their Bulgarian colleagues from Sofia and Burgas, who took care of the injured. Bulgarian authorities, and particularly healthcare people, had a very adequate reaction. My impression from phone conversations and emails is that Bulgarian medical teams acted in an extremely professional manner," said Kamisa-Raz.

The diplomat added that the decision made by Burgas doctors to transport the most seriously injured to Sofia has been the best and a life-saving one.

"When our medical teams arrived they found the injured in stable condition and it was easy to move them on the plane and take them home," he concluded.

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