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Bulgaria sends 155 soldiers to Iraq

Date: 24.02.2006

On Tuesday Bulgaria’s Parliament decided to send 155 soldiers to guard Ashraf camp in Iraq.
The MPs discussed for four hours whether to send troops on a new mission or not, the main opponents of the idea being the ultra-nationalist party Ataka.

As Pavel Shopov from Ataka PG put it: "It is not a school camp."

Although the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) backed the decision they criticized sharply the ruling majority stating that the Bulgarian Socialist Party was conducting a "pancake policy", accusing them they had changed their stand on Iraq issue just for the sake of the triple government coalition.

DSB Leader Ivan Kostov demanded that the Cabinet would guarantee Bulgarian soldiers' safety.
"The Bulgarian Army is not a kindergarten," said Gen Nikola Kolev, Head of the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, in Parliament. He further said that the Shiites do not forget to mention the Bulgarian troops in their Friday prayers because they managed to protect the gold in two mosques.
"Every year 900 people are killed on the roads in Bulgaria, why don't you demand their closing down," Gen Kolev asked.

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