Bulgaria Uncertain about 'Neutrality' on Syria

Defense | September 5, 2013, Thursday // 20:14|  views

Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defense Nedzhmi Ali. File photo, BGNES

The Defense Committee at the Bulgarian Parliament decided Thursday to delay voting a motion for neutrality in the intensifying conflict in Syria.

The motion was tabled by nationalist party Ataka, who argued that a clearly stated neutrality will be the safest and fairest choice for the country.

At the same time, Bulgarian Minister of Defense Angel Naydenov argued that neutrality might not be the best option available.

"It is popular to talk about neutrality, but we should also take into account our international committments," said Angelov in an interview for the 24 Chasa daily.

At the same time, the Bulgarian Defense Minister clearly stated that any decision for involvement will depend solely on Bulgaria's sovereign choice.

Angelov recalled that up to the present moment, there have been no requests for such involvement from third parties.

At the committee discussion in Parliament Thursday, Vice-Minister of Defense Nedzhmi Ali took up the argument, saying full neutrality "would not be purposeful in the present situation."

"At some later moment, we might for instance make a humanitarian contribution, e.g. by sending military medics," said Ali.

Ataka MPs were not happy with the outcome of the Defense Committee's sitting Thursday, suggesting that the cabinet's indecisiveness might be due to foreign influence.

"I remained with the impression that perhaps the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms haven't yet received orders by their US and Israeli masters regarding what position they should take," was the brisk reaction of Ataka MP Iliyan Todorov.

Bulgaria has made it clear it is not quick to throw blame regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, with senior government representatives stressing that they view the available evidence as inconclusive.

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Tags: Iliyan Todorov, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Ataka, Israeli, US, chemical weapons, Syria, Angel Naydenov, nedzhmi ali, medics


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