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Sofia, Washington In consensus over bases location

Date: 19.10.2005

Bulgaria and the US have agreed on almost all matters concerning the location of American bases in the Balkan country, it appeared following a meeting in Washington.

Bulgaria's Defence Minister Vesselin Bliznakov talked to Robert Loftis of the US Department of State, who heads the negotiation team for the location of US bases in Bulgaria. They have agreed that by December 10 to 15 Bulgaria will have to announce its decision on that matter.

Loftis has assured the Bulgarian minister that the negotiations are developing as planned and that in November he will once again come to Bulgaria with his team.

The USA and NATO have been eyeing Bulgarian military bases for troops deployment possibilities. As an expected outer door of the EU, should it become member of the Union in 2007, and an effective Alliance member, Bulgaria is considered a strategic partner in the western policy to the Near and Far East, and Russia.

Bliznakov also talked to Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of Defense for the withdrawal of the Bulgarian troops from Iraq. He asked the US officials for American assistance during the withdrawal.

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