Bulgaria FM: Hamas Visitors Weren't Banned from EU

Diplomacy | February 15, 2013, Friday // 14:39|  views

Bulgaria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Mladenov. Photo by BGNES

The Hamas representatives that visited Bulgaria were not on any list with persons banned from entering the EU, stated Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Mladenov.

Friday it surfaced that the group of three or four Hamas members had been expelled from Bulgaria by the State Agency for National Security (DANS), after legally arriving on Wednesday.

According to DANS, after the group arrived, the agency received information that they pose a grave threat for Bulgarian national security.

"There are two lines of EU sanctions against Hamas - financial transactions and official contacts. We had no grounds to deny visas to those individuals," stated Mladenov.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister again stressed that the visit was on a private invitation and no official meetings were held.

He confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he personally had held extensive talks with the Palestinian Authority to assure them the Hamas visit is not by invitation of the Bulgarian state and that no Bulgarian official had met the delegation.

The group had arrived in Bulgaria at the invitation of the NGO Center for Global and Middle East Studies to participate in a conference, which was however cancelled after their visit was cut short.

"Why exactly they were expelled from Bulgaria is a matter of DANS's decision and I cannot further comment it," explained Bulgaria's top diplomat.

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Tags: Hamas, Palestinian Authority, Nikolay Mladenov, expelled, DANS, State Agency for National Security, EU, sanctions


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