Bulgaria's Tsvetanov Lauds US Services for Terror Act Help

Defense | December 1, 2012, Saturday // 14:35|  views

Bulgaria's Deputy PM and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, is meeting a number of high-ranking American security, intelligence and law enforcement officials in the frame of his two-week trip to US. Photo by BGNES

The perpetrators of the terror act in Bulgaria's Burgas are not Bulgarians and do not live in Bulgaria, according to the country's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

In an interview for Deutsche Welle from Washington DC, where he is on an official visit for two weeks now, Tsvetanov says that a portion of the talks with colleagues in the US has been dedicated to the attack.

He voices deep gratitude for the American special services for being with him on location two hours after the bombing and offering valuable assistance.

According to the Minister, the investigation is still running and could not be brought to conclusion without partner services, since the attackers are foreign citizens.

He noted the probe was advancing fine and has made significant progress with the number of people involved already known and with strong leads in their identity.

"My priority is to not allow any leaks of information that can hurdle the investigation," Tsvetanov says.

Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the July 18 terrorist attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas. 32 Israeli tourists were injured. Israeli and American intelligence and officials largely blame Hezbollah for the attack.

However, Bulgarian officials, including the President, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, have been very wary of directly involving Hezbollah, reiterating it all depended on the findings of the ongoing investigation.

Recently, European diplomats were quoted saying that he results of Bulgaria's probe in July's bombing of an Israeli tour bus, including a possible Hezbollah lead, will be "essential" for the EU process to list the Lebanese organization as a terrorist entity.

The US included Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations as early as 1995.

On Wednesday, the new US Ambassador in Sofia, Marcie Ries, stressed US President, Barack Obama, is expecting to hear from Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, the latest developments in the probe in the Burgas terror act, during their December 3 meeting at the White House.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry press office announced that Tsvetanov's latest talks in Washington DC were with William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Both have expressed mutual satisfaction of the partnership between the two countries.

Brownfield noted as example the opening of the office in Sofia of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, and Bulgaria's role and activity in the Law Enforcement Center, SELEC, in Bucharest.

Other topics included training of Bulgarian law enforcement officers to be conducted by American experts, regional security, the emigration influx from the Middle East and North Africa, illegal drug trafficking and human trafficking.

Brownfield has lauded the will of Bulgaria's Cabinet and personally Tsvetanov's to counter corruption and organized crime.

In addition to Brownfield, the Bulgarian Minister had meeting with Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, John Brennan, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor to President Barack Obama, Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator, Janet Napolitano, United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Eric Boswell, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, and with Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, with congressmen from the group for friendship with Bulgaria and with the chair of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, and visits of DEA and the National Center at the Department for Internal Security.

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