Bulgarian Foreign Minister with an Interview For TASSDiplomacy | October 23, 2019, Wednesday // 16:49| views
"Our ambition is to have an equal and mutually beneficial bilateral political dialogue with Russia, guided by our national interests and at the same time adhering to the common policies of the EU and NATO Member States." This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS, published on the eve of his visit to Moscow on October 20-22, 2019.
"I am convinced that such a dialogue will contribute to the development of our cooperation in areas of mutual interest, to finding mutually acceptable solutions to current issues of bilateral relations, and to exchanging views on current issues on the international agenda'', she said.
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"We also attach great importance to cooperation in the field of culture and education. The intensification of the political dialogue should be reflected in the expansion of trade and economic relations'', Zaharieva said.
"There has been no visit of a Bulgarian foreign minister to Moscow for 8 years. This will also be my first visit to Russia since 2017. I am glad that this visit is happening at a time when our two countries are celebrating 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations and I thank Mr. Sergey Lavrov for the invitation, ”she said.
"My visit is dedicated and I would like to be against the background of our desire to continue the bilateral dialogue with the Russian side, based on constructive cooperation and mutual respect for interests. We are interested in conducting an equal and mutually beneficial political dialogue, guided by our national interests and the common EU and NATO policies'', she said.
Zaharieva and Lavrov discussed the Balkans and energy co-operation.
"I would like to emphasize that our reaction to the exhibition of the Russian Embassy in Sofia on September 9 has nothing to do with the operation of our services," said Ekaterina Zaharieva. "Already 20 years ago, the Supreme Legislature of Bulgaria - the National Assembly, gave its assessment of these events and their consequences for the Bulgarian state and society, by adopting the Law on Declaring the Communist Regime in Bulgaria Criminal," she noted.
Asked how she assesses the state of bilateral relations with Russia and what prospects he sees for their development, Zaharieva commented: “There is always more to be desired, especially in economic cooperation. The balance of bilateral trade in goods has been to the benefit of Russia for decades. In 2018, bilateral trade decreased by 4.1% to $ 4.144 billion, while the negative trade balance for Bulgaria increased by 22.4% to $ 3, 241 billion. We believe that Bulgarian goods could find a better place on the Russian market. We need to further encourage the initiative of private companies. "
According to her, the political dialogue between Bulgaria and Russia at the highest level has been resumed in the last year and a half.
"Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and President Rumen Radev visited Russia in 2018. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was in Sofia in March 2019. In June 2019, the presidents of both countries, Rumen Radev and Vladimir Putin, met in St. Petersburg. -Petersburg International Economic Forum. National Assembly Speaker Tsveta Karayancheva also paid an official visit to Moscow in June'', Zaharieva said.
"I think these visits and meetings have opened up new opportunities for the development of different strands of bilateral cooperation," she said.