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Bulgaria is a reliable ally

Date: 30.04.2006

Condoleezza Rice
United States Secretary of State

I welcome this agreement on the collaboration in the defense sphere between our two countries. This is an agreement that will contribute to the development of our cooperation, make possible joint use of the Bulgarian military training facilities and enhance our interoperability. Besides, it will lay grounds for broader partnership between Bulgaria and the United States, which marks good progress.

I had talks with President Parvanov and Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev and had a chance to tell them both how highly we appreciate good relationships with Bulgaria. To us they have a great value. Bulgaria is a very valuable and reliable ally. Bulgaria has shown its staunch commitment to the causes of democracy and progress - your country works together with NATO in Afghanistan and shoulders responsibilities in Iraq.

We understand that it has cost sacrifices to Bulgaria and would like you to know that we'll never forget the Bulgarian servicemen killed in action. I would like to tell their families that both the American and the Iraqi peoples highly appreciate their sacrifice.

Now it is an appropriate moment to say that we can strengthen and broaden our economic relationships and raise them to the high level of our political and military cooperation. The USA realizes that Bulgaria aspires for the EU membership. This is something that we strongly support. We know that Bulgaria is making the necessary reforms, especially in the legislative sphere.

We are working hand in hand with the people of Europe as well as with the government of Libya. We are convinced that the Bulgarian nurses have been in Libya for a long time now and it's high time they returned home. We sincerely hope that it will happen very soon.

I thank you very much for our good relationships. These are the relationships based on shared values. I believe that they have a bright future and the agreement on cooperation in defense sphere is just another proof of that.

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