Bulgaria's Ex-FM Under Fire over Clinton Email on Belene Nuclear Plant

Diplomacy | July 6, 2016, Wednesday // 11:19|  views

Bulgaria's ex-Foreign Minister and current UN Middle East Peace Process coordinator Nickolay Mladenov. File photo, BGNES

Former Bulgarian Minister Nickolay Mladenov has downplayed suggestions of irregularities in its communication with the US at the time Bulgaria ended a nuclear project with Russia.

Wikileaks released earlier this week Hillary Clinton's email archive at the time she was the US Secretary of State. It contains a message from her deputy, Richard Morningstar, dated March 28 and informing her that Bulgaria had suspended the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

"I did want to let you know that I received a call a short while ago from Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mladenov to say that Bulgaria had just announced its decision to cancel the Belene nuclear project with Russia. This was a major topic of discussion during your visit to Sofia."

"He said that Russia is being cooperative. Bulgaria will take possession of the one reactor that has been completed and will transfer it to the Kozloduy site. Westinghouse is talking to the Bulgarians about doing a project at Kozloduy using the Russian reactor."

Clinton's deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan forwards the mail with a comment: "Not bad work."

But Mladenov has asserted on his blog that that Bulgarian government had already provided EU partners with the same information on March 28.

"Russia was informed of Bulgaria's intention as early as March 26 by Prime Minister [Boyko] Borisov in a phone conversation with President [Vladimir] Putin, information about the [conversation] being available in the transcript of the Council of Ministers meeting," he has added.

"To inform your American and European partners, as well as your Russian partners, about decisions of strategic importance is a normal practice."

The socialist opposition and other parties who advocate closer ties with Russia have long maintained the Bulgarian government of 2009-2013, also led by current Prime Minister Borisov, had cancelled two of the planned projects with Russia under pressure from the United States. Duma ("Word"), a BSP-leaning newspaper, also concluded on Tuesday Mladenov had "reported" the development to the State Department.

Mladenov is currently the UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

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Tags: Nickolay Mladenov, Belene, Belene NPP, nuclear, Hillary Clinton, Richard Morningstar


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