Bulgaria FM Stresses Importance of NATO Partners

Trust is key in the relationship between NATO and its partners, Bulgaria’s foreign minister said in an address to the alliance on Wednesday.”The best way to achieve this is through all partners being involved in the decision-making process,” Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said at a meeting of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

Emphasising the need to develop all formats of partnership, Mladenov said that one of NATO’s most important cooperative relationships is with the European Union, adding that officials must continue to develop that partnership.

Mladenov confirmed Bulgaria’s support for NATO’s open doors policy, and expressed hope that the next summit in 2014 would be dedicated to the expansion of NATO.

“Bilateral relations should not obstruct co-operation, especially when it is a matter of regions as important to us as the Mediterranean,” he said, welcoming the decision taken to unblock the uniform programme for co-operation with partners.

Several Balkan countries, including Serbia and Macedonia, are not NATO members.

Speaking earlier at the NATO-Russia Council meeting, Mladenov emphasized that success in addressing common security challenges requires the development and deepening of the alliance’s partnership with Russia.

He expressed hope for co-operation in 2013, and identified Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism and piracy, and missile defence as priority areas.

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