Top Cop Denies US Pressured Bulgaria on Burgas Terror Act

Diplomacy | December 8, 2012, Saturday // 19:07|  views

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

The ruling center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, will run solo at the 2013 general election, according to Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

Speaking for Nova TV Saturday, Tsvetanov, who is also the Vice Chairman of the party and Deputy Prime Minister, said the lists of candidates will be known around Easter.

He further stated that if the need to have a coalition Cabinet emerges after the outcome of the election becomes known, GERB will seek as allies other parties in Bulgaria that are also members of the European People's Party, EPP. He designated the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, as a likely coalition partner.

Regarding the recent visit of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to Washington DC, and his meeting with US President, Barack Obama, Tsvetanov stated that the official visit has been at an unprecedented for Bulgaria high-level. He added that before 2009, when his party won the term in office, America did not trust Bulgaria's ruling politicians and even refused to grant them US entry visas.

Regarding the July 18 terror act at the Sarafovo airport near the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas, the Minister informed the "probe was advancing," but the details must remain classified, and could become public in the upcoming months. He confirmed earlier statements that the perpetrator and his likely accomplices were all foreign citizens.

"The Americans did not pressure us to say something in particular about the bombing, to admit something. Since the first hour after the attack we had their full support and assistance," said he.

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.

Before Borisov's trip to Washington DC, the new US Ambassador in Sofia, Marcie Ries, stressed Obama was expecting to hear from Borisov the latest developments in the probe in the Burgas terror act, during their December 3 meeting at the White House.

At the end of the interview, Tsvetanov explained that he was aware that many people in Bulgaria were angry with him, but he did not care, obviously hinting these individuals are from the underworld.

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Tags: general election, GERB, official visit, US, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, investigation, Hezbollah, terrorist attack, bus bombing, Burgas, Israel, investigation, Hezbollah, probe, bombing, Burgas, US, United States, US Ambassador to Bulgaria, US Ambassador in Sofia, US Ambassador, USA, US, Barack Obama, US, Marcie Ries, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, UDF, coalition


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