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Bulgarian President Georgi Pravanov arrives in Moscow - 19 September, 2002

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov arrived in Moscow on Thursday.

Today Georgi Parvanov is expected to fly to Sochi, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently spending his vacation. The talks between the Russian and Bulgarian presidents will be held in two stages: at first, they shall meet in private in Sochi, then they will be joined by their delegations in Moscow in the end of this week.

"The talks will focus on vital international problems," the Kremlin said. For instance, the Russian side "is ready for closer cooperation in countering global threats and modern challenges and the consolidation of European and regional security, especially taking into account Bulgaria's chairmanship in the UN Security Council in September 2002." The Russian and Bulgarian presidents are "to thoroughly discuss key problems in the Balkans - the situation in Macedonia and Kosovo, the evolution of statehood in Yugoslavia and problems of peace progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina." In addition, the presidents will focus on trade and economic cooperation, which "is to form the foundation of new Russian-Bulgarian relations," the Kremlin stressed.

"The expansion of Russia's participation in the privatisation of objects of fuel and energy complex, transport and tourist infrastructure is of particular importance for the consolidation of Russia's positions in Bulgaria," the Kremlin said.

Moscow supports the idea of Bulgaria's turning "into the regional energy-transit and distribution centre of South-Eastern Europe," the Kremlin stressed. However, this support "is linked with further preservation and expansion of Russia's participation in the modernisation of the Kozlodui nuclear plant." Increasing Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria's neighbouring countries with the exploitation of objects of the relevant Bulgarian infrastructure is regarded as a promising direction.

The Russian and Bulgarian presidents will also discuss the condition and prospects for cooperation in culture and the humanitarian sphere. According to Kremlin officials, joint events to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878) and Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottoman yoke, scheduled for 2002-2003, are of particular interest.

The Kremlin regards the Bulgarian President's visit to Russia as "a new stage in Russian-Bulgarian relations, which have been rapidly developing of late." Judging by Parvanov's public statements, he "intends to boost cooperation with Russia in different spheres." Moscow "is ready to build relations with Sofia on the basis of pragmatism and mutual interests".